This page is designed to help you in the sometimes confusing work of finding literary criticism to support an interpretation of a piece of literature. Look for themes or ideas that scholars usually study or focus on in their work.
Step 1: Get an overview of your topic.
You will find the most (and best quality) resources in the LRC and other local libraries. Look for an overview of your topic, short analyses of themes or critical overviews of authors.
Reference Area of the LRC
Look in the 800's section in the Reference section of the LRC.
LRC Databases: Literary Criticism
These LRC databases that will have overviews of the work or author you are studying. Remember that you are just looking for short overviews at this point, not a detailed analysis.
Gale Virtual Reference Library
Literature Resource Center
Oxford Reference Online
Step 2: Look for literary criticism in academic journals and books in the LRC.
Once you have an idea of themes you want to research, search for materials written by scholars in the field in academic journals and books that cover your author or his or her works.
Hint: Also check the works cited/ bibliographies at the end of the work overviews you used in step 1 for suggested sources. This is a great way to get started.
LRC Digital Catalog
eBooks on EBSCOHOST
Literature Resource Center
Proquest Research Library
Step 3: Look for sources beyond the LRC.
You will probably find tons of resources in other libraries and on the web that will help you extend your research.To access some of the books, you may need to travel to other libraries or have your public library (or the WEGO LRC) borrow a copy for you. Or you may need to request a copy of an article that is not available for free. Please check with the LRC staff for help with this.
Other Library Catalogs
College of DuPage (COD) Library
An academic, or college, library will be one of your best resources if you are willing to to take a short trip. COD also has a Research Guide for literature topics which covers materials in the COD library..
Illinois State Library Catalog
Books located at other libraries can be ordered through interlibrary loan. Visit your local library, the reference librarian will order the book/s for you, this process may take a full week so plan accordingly.
General Internet Resources
All right, I will warn you now: literary criticism on the web is not easy to find. Most of what you do find will be irrelevant, of poor quality, or way too hard to understand.
Sample Search Engine Keywords
Gale Group Literary Index
This website allows you to find which of Gale's products have information about your author or specific piece of literature. Hint: Most libraries (including ours) will have many of these books.
Search for books and journal articles about your topic through Google's database. You are likelly to find more abstracts and citations than full text articles, but you can check with the LRC staff for help in obtaining the source.
Internet Public Library: Literary Criticism
A large collection of online literary criticism on the web. Very hit and miss though.
A large collection of links to literary criticism on over 200 American and British authors.
Oak Lawn Public Library
There are several databases here created by the Oak Lawn Public Library staff that help you find citations for your author or particular work. Use the drop down list to select the literature databases. Look for the most appropriate database for your task (e.g. American Novel Criticism).
Foreign Poems and Short Stories
PAL: Perspectives in American Literature
An extensive list of bibliographies to a long list of American writers.
Specific Time Periods or Literary Movements
American Transcendentalism Web
Information about the American Transcendentalism movement and links to criticism and other information.
Romanticism on the Net
An online journal that covers British Romantic writers. A Table of Contents and links to previous issues is on the right and bottom of the home page.