Skip to Main Content

ENGL214 - American Literature Since 1860 - Avedano: Start

This guide supports the research assignments for Professor Avedano's ENGL214 classes.

What is Literary Criticism?

Literary Criticism

The analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of authors and their works of literature, which can include novels, short stories, essays, plays and poetry. 

Literary criticism is often written by literary critics and is found in essays, articles and books. Literary "criticism" is not necessarily negative; "criticism" means a thoughtful critique of an author's work or an author's style in order to better understand the meaning, symbolism or influences of a particular piece or a body of literature. 

Criticism Lenses

Many times literary critics analyze works of literature from a particular philosophical or literary perspective. This perspective often evolves as a reaction to the political, economic, cultural, educational and artistic climate of a historical period. Perspectives include historical, gender studies, feminist, psychological, mythological and more. 

Literary Criticism in Databases

You will find different types of criticism in the library's databases:

  • Book reviews - written for the general public
  • Work overviews - articles that look at characters, themes, and plot; a good starting point in research
  • Critical articles - more in-depth and written for an academic audience 

Library Databases

Research Steps:

  • Search Novels For Students, Poetry For Students, and Short Stories for Students for work overviews. These overviews include information about plot, characters, themes, and historical context.
  • Search Artemis for more in-depth critical articles. 
  • Click on the tabs at the top of the page to view article examples. 

Quick Links


Profile Photo
Kay Neary
chat loading...
508-588-9100 x1932