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Literary Criticism: Helpful Tips

This guide is meant to help you with any assignment involving the the critiquing of literature.

You might find the following helpful when statring your search for literary criticism

  • Make sure you seek assistance from a Reference Librarian, especially if this is the first time you will be looking for and using literary criticism in a paper you will be writing.
  • Use the Library's article databases and book catalog to build your authoritative knowledge of the work or writer you are focusing on.
  • Use appropriate article databases for your search. Some databases are better for literary criticism than others. SEE tab labeled: "Finding Criticism Online: Articles"
  • Use the advanced search options available that are available for all databases. They will give you more control over your search and will better help you to limit and focus the results you get. By default the landing page for all the Library databases is the simple search interface. Look for an "advanced search" link and click on it.
  • Sometimes knowing something about an author's life can be helpful in gaining a better understanding of his/her work. Just as events in your life impact your outlook and experiences, events in an author's or poet's life can influence their writing. Artemis Literary Sources, Gale Virtual General Reference Library, and Biography Reference Bank are examples of three Library article databases you can use to find authoritative, biographical information on you author.
  • Use keywords like "interpretation" and "criticism" in your searches.
  • Work with the themes the author or poet focuses on in the story or poem, especially if you can't find any criticism on the particular work.
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