ENGL 112 Introduction to Fiction

Find Literary Criticism: Articles

Using Gale Literature

Gale Literature has a range of information types and perspectives on literature. You can find author interviews, author and work overviews, reviews, critical biographies, and popular and scholarly literary criticism. 

Search Tips

To search the database, use a range of strategies.

  1. Strategy: Use the author and/or work title.
  2. Use the work title and a theme/idea/literary element.  
  3. Use the author's name and a thematic or literary keyword.

As shown in the image below, you can enter the author's name in Last name, First name format. Once you start typing in this advanced search box, this particular database will also autofill suggestions and add the formatting you see here. 

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advanced search page showing the ways to search by author and name of work

And then...

Limit by Content-Type to find specific kinds of sources.

  • Limit to introductory sources to build your understanding of your text and author.
  • Biographies address an author's significance and discuss themes addressed in their work.
  • Topic & Work Overviews provide an overview of the critical conversation on a work or author.
  • Reviews & News offer brief analysis
  • OR go straight to Literary Criticism to search for scholarly analysis of your text.

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search results showing how to limit by document type once there are results

Find Scholarly Articles

Use a library database to search for and find scholarly articles.

  • Remember to limit your search to scholarly (peer-reviewed) journal articles.
  • Your assignment may require you to find and use scholarly articles in your analysis. To find relevant articles, you will need to consider many more.

Search Tips

To find literary criticism type in relevant keywords. 

  • Use AND to connect your ideas and focus your results (see the example below) 
  • Use an asterisk to truncate - and find forms of a root word. (Example below: postmodern*)
  • To find scholarship only, check the box to limit to scholarly peer-reviewed journals only. Please note that you may find book reviews - and they will likely not work for your purposes.
  • Click on an individual title to learn more about an article. The abstract provides a summary of the claim and key points. 
  • To read the entire article, click on PDF or HTML. 
  • Note that databases may not have access to the full text. Click on Find Full Text to link to the article in another database or borrow it with InterLibrary Loan! 

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search results page in Academic Search, highlighting the ways to limit to full-text and source type using the tools on the left

Searching in The Explicator

Scholarly criticism can take different forms and approach a text from many directions. For example, criticism from the academic journal The Explicator focuses on textual analysis. This is a good source to see how critics engage with a text from a range of perspectives.

The Explicator cover

The Explicator publishes concise criticism on passages of prose and poetry. "Each issue contains between 25 and 30 essays on works of literature, ranging from ancient Greek and Roman times to our own, from throughout the world."

Example of Literary Criticism

In the excerpt below note how scholarly analysis represents a conversation of sorts between the story, the scholar, and other scholars. In the second paragraph opening quoted below, Nancy Tuten, author of this scholarly analysis, begins to argue that language in "Everyday Use" is about more than empowerment and giving voice. It is also about silencing and oppression.


"Commentaries on Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" typically center on Mama's awakening to one daughter's superficiality and to the other's deep- seated understanding of heritage. Most readers agree that when Mama takes the quilts from Dee and gives them to Maggie, she confirms her younger daughter's self-worth: metaphorically, she gives Maggie her voice. Elaine Hedges, for example, refers to the 'reconciliation scene' in which 'Mama's gift of the family  quilts to Maggie empowers the previously silenced and victimized daughter' (356). The text underscores such a reading by stating that immediately after the incident Maggie sits with her 'mouth open' (58). 

This story is distinctive, however, in that Walker stresses not only the importance of language but also the destructive effects of its misuse."

Excerpt from: Tuten, Nancy. "Alice Walker's Everyday Use." Explicator 51.2 (1993): 125. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Nov. 2014.

Source: "Gale Literature Resource Center - Literary Analysis" by Gale, A Cengage Company, is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.

Learn how Gale Literature Resource Center can help you search for literary analysis sources, including author biographies, critical essays, overviews, and more.

Holman Library Catalog

Literary Criticism Books

Search Tips

Search by story or author name to find books that contain criticism.

Try adding the search term: Criticism or the subject term: Criticism and Interpretation.

A new screen will open with your search results. This will be a list from the library's catalog. 

  • Print books will have a call # and location that tells you how to find them.
  • E-books link directly to online books, which you may read online or download to your device.