Literary Criticism

What is Literary Criticism?

“The analysis and judgment of works of literature. The body of principles by which the work of writers is judged. Note: The principles used in judging a literary work vary from the highly personal and subjective to the relatively objective; they may involve but are not limited to specific consideration of moral values, historical accuracy, and literary form and type; they may be different from one literary period to another.”

Where can I find literary criticism about a specific book or work?

These are the resources that contain critical analysis and interpretations of a work.

Internet Resources

Internet Public Library.
Browse by the title of the work or by literary period.

Online Literary Criticism Guide.

Library Spot-Literary Criticism.

Librarians’ Index to the Internet. 

Print Resources

Gale Literary Criticism Resources:

Indexes to Gale Resources can be found online at

♦ Contemporary Literary Criticism
R 809 CON

♦ Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism
R 809 TWE

♦ Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800
R 809 LIT

♦ Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism
R 809 NIN

♦ Short Story Criticism
R 809 SHO

For more print resources on literary criticisms, check 809 in both the circulating and reference sections, do a subject search of the name of the work in the online library catalog, or ask a librarian for help.

Where can I find definitions of terms or concepts?

These are resources that will help define and describe different literary words or phrases.

Internet Resources

♦ A Glossary of Literary Terms.

♦ A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices.

Print Resources

A Glossary of Literary Terms
803 ABR 1988
R 803 ABR 1988

A Dictionary of Literary Terms
803 CUD

A Dictionary of Literary and Thematic Terms
803 QUI

California State Board of Education. (2005). Glossary – English-language arts content standards. Retrieved April 25, 2005, from

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