Guide to finding criticisms
What is a criticism?
A criticism is an evaluation of literature which provides an analysis, interpretation, and
discussion of the work. The literature may be novel, essay, play, poetry, or short story. The
purpose of a criticism is to provide an analysis and assessment of the work itself, this is often
done with comparisons to other works by the author or similar works by other authors. A criticism
differs from a
A review is focused on the evaluation of the work and usually appears following the publication of
a book or a performance of a play. Reviews are generally considerably shorter and tend not to be
published in scholarly sources.
What should I look for in a criticism?
- The author of the criticism and their credentials.
- The publication in which the criticism is written.
- Evidence to support conclusions reached in the criticism.
Where can I find criticisms?
There are a number of resources that contain or lead to criticisms. Follow the instructions for
each category below.
Literature Resource Center
The Literature Resource Center is an online reference collection from the Gale Group. In
addition to critical essay it includes biographies, bibliographies, work overviews, author-related
web sites, and an events timeline. To search:
- Enter the title of the work and/or the author name in the search boxes
- Put a check in the
Literary Criticism box to access excerpts drawn from the Gale's print titles.
Includes citations to book chapters, books, and other types of materials from more than 4,400
journals and series, and 1,000 book publishers. To search:
- Enter title of work and/or author in search box(es).
criticism in additional search box. If the results number is large, you may which to
GC Genre/Classification from the drop-down menu and repeat your search to further
limit your results.
Provides access to older articles in many disciplines. To search:
- Enter title, author, and criticism in search box. It is not necessary to enter the word AND
between your words.
Allows simultaneous searching of journals from Johns Hopkins University Press. To search:
Search on the top of the page and enter search terms. It is not necessary to enter
the word AND between your words.
- To locate additional criticisms select
databases specific to the topic discipline and enter title/author
information along with
criticism in your search statement.
Online Library Catalog
to find books about a single author or literary work.
- To locate books that are devoted to criticism of an author or literary work, search for the
author as a
Quick Search option, enter the last name first (e.g., morrison toni) and select
Subject Headings from the options in the
Search by box. Scroll down the results list to locate the subheading
criticism and interpretation. Examine the list for subheadings that include the
title of an individual work (e.g., morrison toni beloved).
- To locate book chapters or essays in anthologies with criticisms of particular works:
Advanced Search enter the literary work's title (e.g., "one hundred years of
solitude"), in the
Search by box select
For works not originally published in English, use the untranslated title as well (e.g.,
"cien años de soledad"). In some cases, using a shortened version of a literary work's title may
result in a few additional sources (e.g., "huck finn").
handout of this page.