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What is literary criticism?

What is literary criticism? 

Literary criticism is concerned with the evaluation and interpretation of literature. When you ask questions like "why did the author choose this setting?" or "how does this book reflect the time during which it was written?" you're engaging in literary criticism. Literary criticism helps enrich our reading of literature and expands our understanding of the work. 

While literary criticism can be complex, there's no need to get overwhelmed! Below are some links to guides with more information about literary criticism. 

Locating Literary Criticism

Locating Literary Criticism

It doesn't have to be difficult to locate literary criticism! Here are some tips. 

The Literary Sources database should be your first stop for locating literary criticism. On the advanced search page, be sure to check the box for "Peer-Reviewed Journals" and select "Literature Criticism" as the content type. For this assignment, type "Spiegelman Maus" into the search bar. 

Video Tutorial: Locating Literary Criticism

Other Sources of Literary Criticism

The Literary Sources database is not the only SLLC database where you can find literary criticism. Here are some other places you can try. 

  • ROOsearch: ROOsearch is SLLC's federated search tool. This means that ROOsearch will include results from every single database and resource that SLLC provides. It can be both very powerful and overwhelming for this reason! Try search terms like "Spiegelman Maus" and "criticism" or "analysis." 
  • JSTOR: To find literary criticism using JSTOR, type your search term in the box (Spiegelman Maus) and then scroll down to "Journal Filter." Check the box for "Language & Literature" journals and click the search box. Your results will come only from literature-related journals and are therefore usually focused on literary criticism. 
  • Academic Search Complete: To find literary criticism using Academic Search Complete, type your search term in the box (Spiegelman Maus) and check the box for "Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals." Then, find "Document Type" below, and select "literary criticism" as the document type. 

If you'd like to continue to more in-depth research, schedule a consultation with a librarian! We're happy to help you find exactly what you need.