Literary Criticism & How to Write about Authors and Novels.
What is a Literary Criticism?
  • It is an analysis of a text...but it does more than just explain the text.
  • It explores what the author is trying to say and how this goal is accomplished.
  • It can explore one particular aspect of the author's writing or multiple aspects

What is the difference between a book review and a literary criticism?
  • The purpose of a book review is to evaluate a text to recommend reading it or not.
  • The purpose of a criticism is to show us how to understand what we are reading
and Yes...sometimes a book review can also give an understanding and contain some critical analysis of a book or its author.

Where can I find Literary Criticisms?

Try these databases from the library page:
  • **Gale's VIRTUAL REFERENCE LIBRARY**. If you know the novels you are exploring, start with this set of E-BOOKS
    These books- Novels for Students, Short stories for Students, Poetry for Students will give you a critical overview and at least two specific criticisms written about the novel. It also contains sections of Historical Influences, Themes, Compare & Contrast- great for ideas to frame a thesis topic.
    • We also have a print set of these books (Dewey Numbers 809.3NOV; 809.3SHO, 809.1POE )

    Contains biographical information, overviews, full-text literary criticism and reviews. The Person search lets you narrow by genre, theme, subject, literary movement as well as nationality, ethnicity and gender.

  • **J-STOR**
    A collection of scholarly journals in many fields including Literature journals that contain detailed criticisms on many works and authors

    In depth essays and criticism on great authors and their works. Look at the TIMELINE feature to find who else was writing at the same time. Look at the HOW TO WRITE ABOUT feature with specific advice on how to write good essays on popularly assigned authors.

We have many books in the Literature Section (Dewey Number 800's) that focus on Literary Movements and Genres, Period Studies, Critical Analysis of Novels and Authors.

Where can I find Historical and Biographical information?

History Databases:

Biography Databases
Biography Books: Individual biographies (B followed by person's last name) & collected biographies(Dewey Number 920's)- Ask the Library Staff where these books are located!