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BGSU University Libraries

English Literature Studies: Literary Criticism

A guide to English literature and literary criticism.

Getting Started

Literary Criticism is the term for work written about literature; these works study, evaluate, discuss, and interpret works. Criticism may also indicate a theoretical approach to interpreting the work, such as new criticism, deconstruction, new historicism, queer theory, reader response or structuralism.

Researching literary criticism may require finding information on a specific theory, in which case encyclopedias or dictionaries of literary terms may be helpful starting points. For a literary critique of a work, scholarly articles and book chapters are more appropriate. Try searching databases and the library catalog using keywords such as the name of the theory or the name of a literary work.

Photo: IB English by Quinn Dombrowski


To find journal articles on a topic, search within the literature databases listed at the top of the page. All journals are not contained in each database, so it is best to look in more than one.

The box below highlights some of the journals we subscribe to and includes links to electronic access if available.

Selected journals for literature & criticism

English Language Notes
Covers special topics in literary and cultural studies, particularly interdisciplinary and collaborative work between literary and other fields. In print at Jerome Library and full text online in EBSCO.


A core title in literature, publishing scholarly essays on language and literature. In print at Jerome Library (to present) and full text online.
Modern Language Review
Scholarship on European (including Latin American) languages, literatures and cultures. Full text online in JSTOR (1905-present).
Nineteenth Century Literature
Publishes research concerning English and American 19th century authors. Full text online in JSTOR (to 2015) and at the University of California Press (to present).
Review of Contemporary Fiction
Critical essays on unconventional and overlooked writers of contemporary fiction. In print at Jerome Library and full text online in EBSCO.
A journal of medieval studies publsihing scholarly research on all aspects of the Middle Ages. Full text online.

Selected Websites

The Internet Public Library (a reliable web resource) maintains a Literary Criticism page searching authors, genres, and time periods.

Modern American Poetry is a scholarly, comprehensive site hosted by the Department of English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, filled with commentary and criticism on many poems and poets.

Web del sol: Locus of literary arts on the WWW compiles literature and literary journals on the web.

NINES: Nineteenth Century Scholarship Online, a digital humanities project.

Databases for Literary Criticism

Reference Books

Selected Literary Criticism reference books available on the first floor of Jerome Library.

Reference E-books