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Literary Criticism

Reference Sources

Reference sources in literature include: critical summaries (such as the Literature Criticism Series below), background and biographical information, and bibliographies to further reading.  Individual works or series may be compiled by a critical framework (e.g., Marxist Theory), a literary movement (Realism), an author, genre, or by history/geography (e.g. American Novelists since WWII).

These materials are a good place to get started with your research.  They also help you check to make sure you are not missing a major point/work in your research papers.

Print reference materials are located on the 1st Floor Reference Collection in the John C. Pace Library. Literature is found in the P call number range; however, bibliographies will often be found in the Z's. Many reference materials may also be found through our databases.

To locate print items, conduct an Advanced Search in our library catalog and limit to the location "Reference."

Literary Criticisms: Gale Series

Reference: Guides

Biographical Sources

Dictionary of Literary Biography. (Call Number Varies) 
An ongoing, multi-volume work that provides detailed descriptions of an author's life and work. Covers many American and European authors.

Reference: Dictionaries, Guides, and Handbooks

Reference materials can be found on the 1st floor of the John C. Pace Library, as well as in selected databases.

The Dictionary of Feminist Theory. 1995. (Ref. HQ 1115 H86 1995)

Dictionary of Literary Symbols. 1999. (Ref. PN 56.S9 F47 1999 & FWB)

Dictionary of Literary Themes and Motifs. 1988. (Ref. PN 43 D48 1988)

Gay & Lesbian Literature. (Ref. PN56 .H57 G36)

Handbook of Literary Research. 1995. (Ref. PR 56 M54 1995)

A Multicultural Dictionary of Literary Terms. 1999. (Ref. PN 41 C28 1999)

The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. (Ref. PN41 C67 2008)

Twentieth-Century Literary Movements Dictionary. 2000. (Ref. PN 597 T94 2000)


Examples of the types of encyclopedias you might find are listed below. They can be as broad as the Encyclopedia of American Literature or as narrow as the The Mark Twain Encyclopedia. You may try the words: guides, handbooks, dictionaries, and encyclopedias along with your keywords in OneSearch and in our Catalog to see what reference sources you may discover. Another good online reference source is our database, Credo Reference.