Literary Analysis is "the mainly interpretive (versus evaluative) work written by readers of literary texts, especially professional ones (who are thus known as literary critics).
It is "criticism" not because it is negative or corrective but rather because those who write criticism ask probing, analytical, "critical" questions about the works they read". (ipl2)
For more information see: LitWeb: The Norton Introduction to Literature: Writing About Literature.
Literary criticism is the evaluation, analysis, description, or interpretation of literary works. It is usually in the form of a critical essay or book chapter about the significance of themes, characters, imagery, style, or other elements found in a writer's work.
Criticism may examine a particular literary work, or may look at an author's writings as a whole.
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:
An example of Literary Criticism:
"Oxymoron in the Great Gatsby" by Peter L. Hayes (Academic Search Complete) (click on PDF full text to view article)
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Find criticism in academic journals such as Academic Search Complete and ProQuest Learning: Literature and other suggested databases posted on this guide. Below is an example of an Advanced Search.
Do searches with Author's name, Title of work, or literary themes, to see if you get different results.
This technique also works when searching the library catalog for books and also searching GVRL.
Gale Literary Sources has a Topic Finder that lets you browse your topic visually. It then displays related articles to the right when you click on a segment.
example search: Tolstoy
Gale Literary Sources (Public Library database - Use your Student ID#)