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Research Guide

Literary Criticism


Purdue Owl's Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism

  1. good overview for some of the major literary theories

Introduction to Modern Literary Theory

Siegel, Kristi.  "Introduction to Modern Literary Theory."  2006. Web. 30 Dec. 2009.

  1. provides a short background on various theories
  2. offers keywords associated with the theory
  3. bibliography list

Internet Public Library Special Collection:  Literary Criticism

  1. one of the most comprehensive collections on the web on this topic
  2. provides extensive links to other sources

Wikipedia Sources

  1. good to use for overview and ideas
  2. avoid citing in your work
  3. be careful of unverified sources

Library Catalog


Use the Library of Congress search term: criticism

Remember to select "Alphabetical Browse" and click "Subject."

Items that have the designation "electronic resource" are eBooks that can be accessed anywhere with an Internet connection.

Remember to record the call number...usually starts with PN for this subject.

Reference Books

The John Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism

REF PN81.J554 2005

  1. overview of various literary theories (or schools) and major critics

Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literary Theory: Approaches, Scholars, Terms

REF PN81.E43 1993

  1. focuses on contemporary theory, history, and criticism

Literary Theory

REF PN 94.B47 2008

  1. covers a braod range of criticism, inlcuding eco-criticism, cultural theory, and literature and sexuality

Popular vs Scholarly


Need a reminder on the differences between a scholarly source as opposed to a popular one?  Use the above handout to help you, or watch the video below.

Library Databases

  1. a new cross-search platform for Literature Resource Center and Literature Criticism Online (see below)
  2. also cross-searches our collection of online literature studies reference books


  1. includes full-text literary criticism articles
  2. print, email, download, mp3
  3. EX: Toni Cade Bambara AND "The Lesson" (Basic Search)
  4. EX:  feminism AND Joy Luck Club (Basic Search)


  1. critical commentary and historical perpsectives
  2. search by author
  3. print, PDF, email
  4. EX:  James Baldwin
  5. EX:  Faulkner, William (Basic Search)


  1. Full-text access to archives for over 500 scholarly journals in thirty arts, humanities, and social sciences disciplines
  2. EX:  marxist criticism
  3. EX:  "color purple" AND gender (Advanced Search)


  1. premier literary database, combining content of MagillOnLiterature and MagillOnAuthors
  2. print, email, download
  3. EX:  Aimee Bender
  4. EX:  Frost, Robert AND "after apple picking" (Advanced Search)

Google Scholar

Google Scholar

  1. provides overview of relevant research on a particular topic
  2. EX:  Alice Walker "Everyday Use"
  3. EX: pyschoanalysis reader response self (technically psychoanlysis AND reader response AND self)

MLA Citation Handout

MLA Citation Guide

Use the above guide to help you create your "Works Cited" page in MLA style format.

Remember to keep track of your sources as you begin your research, so you can properly provide credit.  Avoid plagiarism by noting your sources.