Finding criticism of fiction, poetry and short stories in the Library
can be very time consuming. You will need to use
LIUCat to locate books.
You will also want to use the web databases to find periodical articles.
Always ask a librarian to help you locate the information you need.
Print Resources in the Reference Department:
Many dictionaries and encyclopedias will help you with your research.
Gale's literary criticism series covers literature of different time
periods. The index in each will lead you to the correct set and volume(s):
- Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800 (LC) PN86.L56
- Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism (CMLC) PN681.5.C57
- Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism (NCLC) PN761.N56
- Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism (TCLC) PN771.G27
- Shakespearean Criticism (SC) PR2965. S44
- Contemporary Literary Criticism (CLC) PN771.C59
For criticism of specific literary forms consult:
- Drama Criticism (DC) PN1601.D59
- Poetry Criticism (PC) PN1010.P499
- Short Story Criticism (SSC) PN3373.S386
If you need criticism on a particular play, poem or short story you can
look up the title in the appropriate set.
Biographical information can help you identify and study an author's
motivation or themes. The multi-volume set Dictionary of Literary
Biography (DLB) provides critical and biographical analysis. For basic
biographical sketches try sources such as Contemporary Authors
These print sources are also indexed online in the
Gale Literary Index.
Magill's not only publishes plot summaries in Masterplots but
also a series of books giving critical overviews of an author's style
and reviews of specific works:
- Critical Survey of Drama
- English Language Series PR623.C75
- Foreign Language Series PN1625.C74
- Critical Survey of Poetry
- English Language Series PR502.C85
- Foreign Language Series PN1021.C7 1984
- Critical Survey of Long Fiction
- English Language Series PR821.C7 1983
- Foreign Language Series PN3451.C75
- Critical Survey of Short Fiction PN3321.C7
The Reference Department also has a substantial collection of
bibliographies about individual authors. These are generally located
in the Z's. Check
under the author's name for the proper
LC call number.
Often symbolism in literature can be traced to classical mythology.
Try LIUCat for books discussing myths.
Besides the many literary sources in Reference, you will also find
works in the bookstacks on a particular author. In using
remember for books BY an author use the Author List, and for
books ABOUT an author (either biographies or criticism) use the
Virtual Reference Collection has an A-Z listing of topics.
Click on Literature for links to sites that may include criticism
on a particular author or work.
Gale Literary Index
guides you to the Gale print series of
literary criticism and biography. Enter an author's name or the title of
a work to get exact references to the series.
Campus-Wide Databases includes specialized
literature databases as well as general databases that also cover literature in which you can
locate articles and other publications. Some provide citations; some provide full-text; and
some can be accessed from your home computer:
- MLA International Bibliography
provides access to
more than 1.5 million bibliographic citations to journal articles, books, and dissertations from 1963 to
the present in academic disciplines such as: language, literature, folklore, linguistics, literary theory
and criticism, and the dramatic arts.
- Literature Resource Center
provides access to biographies, bibliographies, and critical
analyses of more than 120,000 novelists, poets, essayists,
journalists, and other writers, with in-depth
coverage of 2,500 of the most-studied authors from every age and literary
discipline. Includes the full text from some of the reference books discussed above.
- Magill on Literature Plus
contains editorially reviewed critical analyses, brief plot summaries, and
extended character profiles, covering works by more than 8,500 long and
short fiction writers, poets, dramatists, essayists, and philosophers.
Also contains over 6,500 biographical
essays on more than 3,500 different authors, more than 1,000 images,
a glossary of 1,310 literary terms, and 376 genre-driven
overview essays providing details about important literary genres,
time periods, and national literatures.
- Contemporary Novelists
contains biographical/critical essays on the most important living
novelists writing in English worldwide.
- Contemporary Poets
provides biographical and bibliographical information on 789 of the
world's most important contemporary English-language poets. Entries include
personal and career information, addresses, a detailed bibliography, a list of further
reading sources, and more. Each entry also includes a signed critical essay covering
each poet's career and works, written by an expert in the field.
- Modern American Literature
contains excerpts by noted critics on 489 of the most significant American
authors of the twentieth century. Each author entry gathers a variety of critical approaches
and shows the evolution of the critical reception of that author's work. The authors
discussed exemplify the best American writing in a variety of genres, from poetry to
expository essays, and reflect the diversity of the American experience in the
- Nonfiction Classics for Students
provides in-depth literary and historical background on the most commonly
studied nonfiction essays, books, biographies, and memoirs in a streamlined,
easy-to-use format. This reference series gives
high-school and undergraduate students an ideal starting point for class assignments,
term papers, and special projects.
- Reference Guide to Holocaust Literature
provides biographical and critical essays on 223 writers connected to or
concerned with the Holocaust, as well as separate essays on 307 of their works.
- Reference Guide to Short Fiction
contains biographical and critical essays on 376 of the most important
writers of short fiction writing in English worldwide, and 403 separate essays on selected
works. Also includes some authors of note who did not write in English, but whose works
have been widely translated and are often studied, such as Anton Chekhov and Jean-Paul
Sartre. Most authors covered were born after 1750, but a few important figures from earlier
periods are included as well.
- Reference Guide to World Literature
contains biographical and critical essays on authors from throughout
the world, as well as essays covering specific work or works of an author, with criticism
and analysis of those works.
- Writers Directory
features up-to-date bibliographical,
biographical, and contact information for thousands of living authors worldwide who
have at least one English publication. Entries typically include name, pseudonyms,
addresses, citizenship, birth date, specialization, career information, and a
bibliography. Contact information includes e-mail addresses where available.
In addition, many general databases will also
contain material on literature, and many newspapers
contain reviews of current books.
Ask a librarian for assistance in using the print or online resources
for your literary research. New materials arrive regularly in the
Reference Department and the Library. Keep checking for the latest
Jackie Elsas, 4/99
Databases updated 3/13/05