Literary Criticism is the term for writing that studies, evaluates, discusses, and interprets works of literature. 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 than general web sources. Try searching databases and the library catalog using keywords such as the name of the theory or the name of a literary work.
Selected Literary Criticism reference books available on the first floor of Jerome Library.
The Masterplots Series contain concise plot synopses, critical commentary, character profiles, literary settings and biographical profiles. Masterplots articles provide referential information about sources, and discussion of significant aspects of the work’s artistry and history. A bibliography provides annotated citations to the best English-language sources for further research about the book.
Shorter than Cliff Notes, Masterplots are an excellent starting point to refresh one’s memory about a previously read book or a life of a previously studied author, and the guide for students needing to review a term’s worth of literary study.