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Literary Criticism

Search Tips

 A common search strategy is to do a Subject search and enter the name of an author (with their last name before first name) or title of a work.

Subject searches by author's last name yield biographical, bibliographical, and critical information on the author and the works.

Some subjects will have a subdivision of books that are bibliographies ("--bibliography"). Bibliographies are key to finding books and articles written about an author or literary work.

Other useful subdivisions are "--criticism and interpretation" and "--history and criticism."

Find E-Books & Books

To Find E-Books:

1. Limit to "Books" in the drop-down next to the search bar.

2. Select the "Show only online items" radio button.

To Find Books:

1. Limit to "Books" in the drop-down next to the search bar.

2. Select the "Show only physical (in library) items.

Identifying Book Chapters / Critical Essays

Sometimes book chapters and essays about your particular subject will be readily apparent in the library catalog.  Other times, you may want to look in the MLA International Bibliography (see the Journal Articles tab above) to identify particular essays.  From there, you will write down the book title and search it within our library catalog to see if we own the book at UWF.

Search Statewide/Union Catalog (PrimoVE)

If you need a book that is not available at UWF, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan.  Most books are received in about 2 weeks, and you will notified when they are available for you to pick up at the Reference desk.

Statewide Catalog & WorldCat

To identify books on your topic that UWF doesn't own, try searching the Statewide Catalog and requesting via UBorrow.

Or search all libraries in the world using the WorldCat database and use the "Find It" feature to request.

Search Statewide/Union Catalog
Search for materials across all 40 Florida state universities and public colleges.

Subject Headings

Subject headings are useful to pay attention to because they will show you how something is categorized and give you tips for future searches.

In our catalog, you can click on them within the full view of the record to conduct a whole new search for that subject heading.

An example of subject headings in a record might look like this:

Subjects, general:

Colonies in literature


Decolonization in literature


Derrida, Jacques


Derrida, Jacques -- Contributions in criticism


Joyce, James -- 1882-1941 -- Knowledge -- History


Joyce, James -- 1882-1941 -- Knowledge -- Psychology


Lacan, Jacques -- 1901-1981


Lacan, Jacques -- 1901-1981 -- Contributions in criticism


Literature and history -- Ireland -- History -- 20th century


Postmodernism (Literature) -- Ireland


Psychic trauma in literature


Psychoanalysis and literature -- Ireland -- History -- 20th century


Psychological fiction, English -- Irish authors -- History and criticism



Useful tips:

  • If you are conducting research on an author, you will usually see her name along with her birth/death dates listed as a subject heading.
  • Then, you may see subdivision subject headings after that, giving a topic, time period, or geographical location.
  • Some useful subdivisions that can be used as keyword searches as well include:
    • --criticism and interpretation
    • --history and criticism
    • --bibliography
    • --biography
  • You will also often see literary movements as subject headings, as well as topics occuring "in literature."
  • Once you find the "right" book, chances are that its subject headings will be the key to finding other books. Also search that book's index for more key terms.