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English Research Guide: Find Books

Literary Criticism in Books

Books are a good source of literary criticism and biographical information. You will find this material in two forms:an entire book about one author or even one major work. 

For example, a scholar may have written an entire book on one of Shakespeare's plays or one of Hemingway's novels.

To find these, do a book search, using the author's name or the name of the work as a subject.

Or, there might be a book of collected essays about the author or the work.  For example, there might be a book of critical essays on the works of Toni Morrison or a book of articles on Shakespeare's tragedies.

To find these, enter the author's name as a subject and the word criticism as another subject term.

The "advanced" search mode in any of the library catalog gives you two or more subject lines to enter your search terms.


Electronic Books

Access thousands of full-text electronic book titles via Ebsco's eBooks Collection. Other full-text electronic books are available through the library catalog.

Book Search

Where are the books in the library?

Begin by making a note of the call number from the catalog.  Be sure to include the letters at the beginning because these are essential for finding the book. For example, the call number PR4036 .A283 2005 is for a book called Jane Austen in Context, which is a study of her life and writings.

LC call number system   Understanding LC call numbers

The catalog will also say which part of the library the book can be found in.  In most cases, this will be the stacks. The stacks are simply the book shelves on the third floor.  All books in this area may be checked out.

In the Library of Congress system, books in the literature collection are arranged by geographic area, then by time period, then by author. Author biographies and critical studies are shelved in the same call number section as works written by the author. Once you have found the LC number area for an author, you can browse through the books to find other books on your topic.

When the catalog says a book is Reference, you will find it on the shelves across from the Research Help Desk.

If you don't find the books you are looking for, ask for help!