Literary criticism is the evaluation, analysis, description, or interpretation of literary works. It is usually in the form of a critical essay, but in-depth book reviews can sometimes be considered literary criticism.
Criticism may examine a particular literary work, or may look at an author's writings as a whole. (ipl2)
Why study literary criticism?
Authors present us with work that can have multiple meanings, expecting us to consider thoughtfully - to interpret. Writers and critics build on each others' understanding of a work of literature in a kind of dialog. Good criticism can help us develop a better understanding of a work. In addition, it can help us develop a point of view about a work, whether or not we agree with the opinions of the critic.
When looking at criticism, check for:
Opinions supported by evidence, relating to:
When looking for criticism, AVOID:
Critical texts can be found via the online catalog by doing an advanced search with the author's last name and the word criticism - searching for the author as subject (last name, first name):
Subject : Hemingway, Ernest
Subject : criticism
One of the results you will get is the following :
Ernest Hemingway's A farewell to arms /edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom. (Series: Bloom's notes)
Call #: 813 Ern
More Search Options
A second option is to use the advanced search in the library catalog and search by era, literature, and criticism as a "subject" as noted below:
Subject : english literature
Subject : 18th century
Subject : criticism
The third option is to search the title of the work as "keyword" and criticism as a "subject." This will pick up the title of the work in an anthology of critical essays.
Keyword : 1984 Subject : criticism
Located In the Reference Section - Call numbers REF 800
CLC - Contemporary Literary Criticism
CMLC - Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism
DLB - Dictionary of Literary Biography
LC - Literary Criticism 1400- 1800
NCLC - Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism
PC - Poetry Criticism
SSC - Short Story Criticism
TCLC - Twentieth Century Literary Criticism
Drama for Students
Epics for Students
Click on on GVRL logo to get to the eBooks.
Critical Overview of Poetry Series
Gale Contextual Encyclopedia of American Literature
Gale Contextual Encyclopedia of World Literature
Literature and Its Times
Literary Movements for Students
Literary Themes for Students
Poetry and Short Stories for Students Series
Shakespeare for Students
The Public Library has several helpful databases that will relate to your literary criticism research.
Located in Literature & The Arts
Literature Resource Center : Literature Resource Center's critical, biographical and contextual content supports interdisciplinary approaches, information literacy and the development of critical-thinking skills. Full-text articles from scholarly journals and literary magazines are combined with critical essays, work and topic overviews, full-text works, biographies, and more to provide a wealth of information on authors, their works, and literary movements. Content covers all genres and disciplines, all time periods and all parts of the world.
Scribner Writers Online : Provides criticism on American and British writers and Latin American and European writers.
Twayne's Authors Online : Series of literary criticism, offers in-depth introductions to the lives and works of writers, the history and influence of literary movements, and the development of literary genres.
Located in Biography, History & Geneology
Biography in Context : Delivers outstanding research support with nearly a million biographical entries spanning history and geography.