Research Guide: Literary Criticism

This guide will help you understand and locate literary criticism

Gale Reference Book Compilations of Literary Criticism

Using reference sources

Reference books gather and compile literary criticism from different sources (scholarly articles and books...etc.) and different publication dates into one convenient location. Some of the most popular literary criticism series of books are available in the Holman Library Reference collection.

To find criticism on a particular work or particular author:
  1. Look in the index in the back of each book above for the name of work or the last name of the author


  1.  Use the Gale Literary Index (linked below) to point you to which books contain criticism of a particular work or author.

Literary Criticism Database

Using Gale Literature

Search for both background information and critical analysis of novels, plays and poetry in the literary criticism database called Gale Literary Sources.

To find articles that will get you started understanding your author or literary work, use these introductory source types: topic and work overviews, interviews, news and reviews, and interviews

How do you find them? You have two ways. 

  1. Search by title or author. Please note that in this database you may do better searching last name, first. 

(click on image to enlarge)

search results showing carver, raymond

Search by title or author and from the search results page, limit by source type. See the image below. 

  • This image points to biographies, topic & work overviews, reviews & news, and primary sources.  At "by Document Type" you have more options, including interviews.

(click on image to enlarge)

search results showing how to limit by type

  1. Before you click on the search button, limit "by document type" by checking the box next to each source of info you want to read. Here, biographies are selected. You can click more than one document type if you know what you want to search for.

(click on image to enlarge)

Screenshot of the advanced search option, showing how to limit by document type - here biographies are selected, along with reviews and interviews

Note: Many of the print reference books on this page are collected online in this database.

Gale Literary Index

Using Gale Literary Index

Use the information below to search in Gale Literary Index

  1. Go to Gale Literary Index (linked below)

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Image of the literary index page, showing the option to search by author or title

  1. Search for the name of a work using the Title Search option.

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image of a title search option on the Literary Index page, with the search words of "the sound and the fury"

  1. Once you have a list of results from your Title search, look at the names of the titles.
  • Bold numbers following the title of the series indicate the volume of the book. 
  • Other numbers represent the pages in the volume where the criticism is located.
  • Find these books in the Reference section of the Holman Library and if you need help, just ask! Literary criticism research can be tricky as you track down resources!

(click on image to enlarge)

Image of the results of "The Sound and the Fury" showing a list of books that contain literary criticism articles in them, along with the volume and page numbers used to locate them.

Literary Criticism 1: Learn about Literary Works and Authors

Source: "Literary Criticism 1: Learn about Literary Works and Authors" by Holman Library is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Part 1 of 2: Learn what literary criticism is and how to effectively find a range of sources for your work and/or author.

Gale Virtual Reference Library

Searching through multiple collections

Search for general literature criticism and literary history in multiple volumes at once in Gale Virtual reference Library.

Sample relevant academic encyclopedias in this database:

Literary Criticism in Print Reference Books

Using literary criticism books

To find criticism or author biographies in these books, you will need to look in the index in the back of each book.