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Writing Tips

Writing for Academia, Literary Criticism & Analysis, Literature Reviews, and Annotated Bibliographies

What is Literary Criticism?

Literary criticism is the evaluation, analysis, description, or interpretation of literary works. It is usually in the form of a critical essay, but in-depth book reviews can sometimes be considered literary criticism. Criticism may examine a particular literary work, or may look at an author's writings as a whole. Finding literary criticism can be challenging. This tab is designed to help students in researching and writing literary criticism.

Adapted from the iSchool at Drexel

Finding Biographical Information on Authors

Information about the life of a literary author can be enormously helpful in providing you with insight into the writing of the author. Also, it is often a good way to gain information about the historical time period in which the author lived.

Finding Books About Your Author:

Use the USF Libraries Catalog to find books about the life of your author. As an example:

1) Check the Advanced Search bubble above the search field

2) Type Eudora Welty in Search for words: in "Anywhere" box

3) Find the Format section. Click on Biography.

Adapted from NC State University

Find Criticism on Literary Works

It is often helpful to find out what others have written about the literary work you are studying. Keep in mind that criticism has not been published on all literary works. Criticism is easier to find on more famous authors rather than obscure writers. Individual short stories or poems can also be a challenge to find criticism for.

Criticism in Books:

Use the USF Libraries Catalog to find books by critics who have studied and written about your literary author. As an example:

1) Check the Advanced Search bubble above the search field

2) Type Eudora Welty in Search for words: in "Anywhere" 

3) Type in Criticism below the first search box: Change "Anywhere" to "Subject"

  • Tip: make sure the search is linked by "AND" 

Criticism in Journal Articles:

The library subscribes to a number of online databases that help you locate literary criticism articles.

  • Tip: When using any of these databases, keep in mind that your literary author would be considered the subject or topic of the article. The word author in these databases would ordinarily refer to the person who wrote the article, rather than the literary author you are studying.

*If you are off of the USFSP campus, be sure to log into Blackboard and authenticate that you are a USF student to gain access to this electronic resource.

Adapted from NC State University