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Literary Criticism: How to Find It: Home

Photo of Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

Photo by Carl Van Vechten, 1936

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Your English teacher has told your class that each of you must pick a work of literature, find literary criticism about some aspect of it, and then write a paper summarizing your research. He further tells you that you must find both books and journal articles on your chosen literary work. And finally, he wants you to set the literary work in its context, meaning you need to say something about the author, her life, and why she wrote that particular literary work.

How do you get started? Where do you find this stuff?

This research guide is designed to lead you through the multi-step process of finding literary criticism. In it you will learn about:

  • Online reference works, useful for quickly finding biographical information about an author, as well as plot summaries, overviews, and some basic critical materials about the literary work you have chosen
  • Print reference works, which do the same things as online reference works, but they are traditional books, printed on paper
  • QuickSearch Classic Catalog, the Gumberg Library online catalog, the tool we use to find books owned by the library containing information on an author and particular works of literature
  • Journal databases that provide us with access to citations to critical articles in literary journals, as well as the full text of many articles
  • Sources of reviews of older books
  • Requesting books and articles on literary (and other) topics not owned by the Gumberg Library.
  • Information on citation in MLA format.

Use the tabs at the top of the page to move throught the various sections of this research guide.

Need help? Ask me.

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Ted Bergfelt
402 Gumberg Library
Duquesne University
600 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15282