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LITERARY CRITICISM: Your Guide to Information

We created this guide to lead you through millions of information sources to the BEST books, journals, and databases for finding research for Literary Criticism. This guide is for students in Grades 7-12.


General Books on Literary Criticism.
Reference Books containing Literary Criticisms.
Databases to find magazine, newspaper, and journal articles on Literary Criticisms.
Research Assistance




A literary criticism is a written evaluation of a work of literature - it could be about a poem, a short story, a play, a novel or any type of literature! The library offers hundreds of sources for you to use to find literary criticisms. Literary Criticisms are found in both the general non-fiction
collection and the reference collection.

Use the library’s online catalog to search for literary criticisms. It may seem hard to find something, but if you follow the tip below, you will be doing the best possible search on your topic.


When you search the online catalog, use the title of the novel or play for which you need to find a literary criticism and the word “criticism.” If you don’t find anything, try searching for the author’s name and the word “criticism.”

For example, if you need literary criticism about the book Animal Farm, you would type this into the search box:

“Animal Farm” and “criticism”

If that doesn’t work, type this into the search box:

“Orwell” and “criticism”

Most literary criticisms will be found in the 800 section of the library.

If you have trouble finding anything on your topic, head over to the reference section and check out the books listed in the section below.


Reference Books

It isn’t going too far to say that Reference Books are ESSENTIAL for a good literary criticism report. The following list of reference books is just a selection of what the library offers. This list focuses on criticisms of novels. We also have poetry, short story, and drama criticisms.

Beacham’s Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction. Find in the library at: REF 809.3 BEA ANA.

Critical Survey of Long Fiction. Find in the library at: REF 809.3 CRI.

A Library of Literary Fiction. Find in the library at: REF 810.9 MOD, v.1-4.

Literary Themes for Students. Find in the library at: REF 809.93358 LIT.

Magill’s Literary Annual. Find in the library at: REF 808.8 MA.

Magill’s Survey of American Literature. Find in the library at: REF 810.9 MAG, v. 1-6.

MasterPlots. Find in the library at: REF 808.8 MAS.

Novels for Students. Find in the library at: REF 808.8 NOV, v. 1-29.



We offer access to many databases that allow you to view the full-text of journal, magazine and newspaper articles, book chapters, reference books, images and much more. You can use any database from home 24/7. All you need is internet access and a library card!

To get to the databases, go to the Online Databases page and click on the link to Literary Research. All the databases here will be helpful to you in your search for information.

If you are accessing a database from home, you will be asked for your library card number, which is the 14 digit number on your library card beginning with 21001...


Research Assistance

Ask for help at the library reference desk or call us during regular library hours:

Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays: 10am - 5pm
Tuesdays through Thursdays: 10am - 8pm

phone: 610-759-4932

Or ask a librarian for assistance 24/7 using the online chat box below!