Skip to main content

Locating Literary Criticism: Getting Started

Library Information

Library Hours

Contact us:

Chat requires JavaScript.

About this Guide

Welcome to the TC3 Library!

This guide is intended to be a starting point for TC3 students who are trying to locate books and articles of literary criticism.  It offers links and search tips and pointers but is not intended to be comprehensive. 

If you have any questions about conducting your research or about what the Library can do for you, please contact a librarian.  We're happy to help you.

What is Literary Criticism?

Literary criticism is the interpretation or analysis of works of literature including novels, plays, poetry, and short stories. Theories of literary criticism might also be applied to song lyrics, films, advertisements, children's books - almost any forms of writing and the use of words or even images to convey meaning.

Literary criticism might address a single work of literature or a number of works by the same author or apply a particular type of analysis to a number of different works by different writers.  

Literary criticism might by published as an article in a journal, as a chapter of a book or as an entire book.  Literary scholars might also share their critical analyses online in blog posts or electronic journals.

What to Think About as You Get Started

In order to find literary criticism be sure you know the title of the book (or poem or short story or play) and the author's name and have at least a rough idea of when the work was first published.

Also consider if the work has been studied a lot (and therefore criticism will be somewhat easier to find) or if it's relatively unknown or obscure (in which case critical studies may be hard to find).

You might want the literary analysis to address particular issues in the text.  If so, think about the words you'd use to describe that aspect, for example women or gender, or alcoholism or addiction. 

You might also want to read an analysis from a particular perspective or school of literary criticism.  If so, familiarize yourself with the name and terminology of that type of criticism or learn the names of the key critics.  For example, reader-response or affective criticism and Louise Rosenblatt or Stanley Fish.

Tompkins Cortland Community College Library -170 North St, P.O. Box 139, Dryden, NY 13053 - 607-844-8222, ext. 4360 - Email the Library