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Literature Resource Center Restricted Resource
Extensive collection of full-text scholarly articles, book reviews, biographical essays, and work overviews. Covers authors and literary topics from all genres, time periods, and regions of the world.

MLA International Bibliography Restricted Resource
Index of books and articles published on modern languages, literatures, folklore, film, and linguistics. Coverage: 1926-present.

Academic Search Premier Restricted Resource
Index of nearly 8,000 scholarly journals and popular magazines in all areas of study. Includes the full text for more than 4,600 titles. Coverage varies by publication.
 + / - Starting Points

When to Use Them
Consult the sources below if you want to get a quick idea of the range of material available on the work you're researching.
 

Where to Find Them
Burke Library has three major resources that collect and republish literary criticism that has appeared in books, journals, and magazines. In some cases, these resources reproduce only part of a longer article. Use Citation Linker to see if the full text is available from our library.
 

  • Literature Resource Center Restricted Resource
    Extensive collection of full-text scholarly articles, book reviews, biographical essays, and work overviews. Covers authors and literary topics from all genres, time periods, and regions of the world.
     
  • Literature Criticism Online Restricted Resource
    Scholarly and popular commentary from books, journals, magazines, broadsheets, pamphlets, diaries, and newspapers. Online access is from 2009-2012. Print volumes are indexed in the Literary Index with selected content available in the Literature Resource Center.

    Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism
    Vols. 1-110 - shelved at Ref PN610 .C55
    Vols. 111-143 - available online

    Literature Criticism from 1400 to1800

    Vols. 1-162 shelved at Ref PN86 .L53
    Vols. 163-206 - available online

    Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism
    Vols. 1-210 - shelved at Ref PN761 .N5
    Vols. 211-259 - available online

    Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism

    Vols. 1-217 - shelved at Ref PN771 .G27
    Vols. 218-269 - available online
     
  • Literature Criticism Series
    Use the search link to ALEX above to find the location of the following titles:
     
    Library of Literary Criticism of English and American Authors (1902)
    Major Modern Dramatists
    Modern American Literature
    Modern Arabic Literature
    Modern Black Writers
    Modern Commonwealth Literature
    Modern French Literature
    Modern German Literature
    Modern Latin American Literature
    Modern Romance Literatures
    Modern Slavic Literatures
    Modern Women Writers

 + / - Books and Book Chapters

When to Use Them
Use books for an overview or extended analysis of an author's works. Even if you don't have time to read an entire book, you can often find a single chapter that's relevant to your topic. Or, use the book's index to locate those pages that talk about the points you're most interested in.
 

Where to Find Them
Use ALEX and WorldCat to find books about a single author or literary work.
 

  • Search ALEX by subject heading to find books that are devoted to criticism of an author or literary work. Enter the last name first (e.g., morrison toni). Look for the subheading "criticism and interpretation" to find books that analyze an author's works. Look for a subheading that includes a title to find books about an individual work (e.g., morrison toni beloved).
     
  • Search WorldCat by keyword using the literary work's title (e.g., "one hundred years of solitude") to find book chapters or essays in anthologies. For works not originally published in English, use the untranslated title as well (e.g., "cien años de soledad"). In some cases, using a shortened version of a literary work's title may result in a few additional sources (e.g., "huck finn").
     
    NOTE: You can limit your search to books in our library by checking the box in front of "Items in my library?" near the bottom of the search screen. When you find a title you want, choose the "See more details for locating this item" link, and then click on the "Search the catalog at the Hamilton College Library (ALEX)" link in the full record to get a call number.
     
  • Search ALEX by subject heading to find bibliographies of criticism written about much-studied authors and their works. Look for the subheading "bibliography" (e.g., faulkner william bibliography). Bibliographies often provide the most complete list of critical writing about a particular author. They also usually include annotations describing the content of these critical works.

 + / - Articles from Scholarly Journals

When to Use Them
Use articles from scholarly journals when doing in-depth research or when you're interested in a specific aspect of an author's work. Articles are more narrowly focused than books. For example, it would be easier to find an article about the theme of marriage in Edith Wharton's Custom of the Country than one that provides an overview of her works.
 

Where to Find Them
To locate scholarly literary criticism, first use one of the databases below to locate references to articles. Then follow the "Find It" link to see if our library has the journal in which the article is published. Scholarly articles can also be located by using bibliographies as explained in the previous section.
 

  • MLA International Bibliography Restricted Resource
    Index of books and articles published on modern languages, literatures, folklore, film, and linguistics. Coverage: 1926-present.
     
  • Humanities and Social Science Index Retrospective Restricted Resource
    Index of articles and book reviews from important scholarly journals. Coverage 1907-1984.
     
  • Literature Resource Center Restricted Resource
    Extensive collection of full-text scholarly articles, book reviews, biographical essays, and work overviews. Covers authors and literary topics from all genres, time periods, and regions of the world.

 + / - Book Reviews

When to Use Them
Use book reviews when you want to document the critical reception of a book at its time of publication or when you can establish the scholarly credentials of the reviewer. There isn't always a clear distinction between literary criticism and book reviews. Influential critics like William Dean Howells, T. S. Eliot, and Edmund Wilson wrote critical reviews for publications like Harper's New Monthly Magazine, the Times Literary Supplement, and the New Republic—none of which would be considered a scholarly journal.
 

Where to Find Them
The publication date for your book will determine which resources are most useful to you. Many book reviews are indexed, excerpted, or reproduced in full by the resources listed in previous sections. You may find additional reviews using the sources listed below.
 

  • Academic Search Premier Restricted Resource
    Coverage: varies, but many titles go back to the 1970s
    Indexes magazines, academic journals, and some newspapers. To locate book reviews, choose "Book Review" from the drop-down menu next to "Document Type."
     
  • Black Literature Index Restricted Resource
    Coverage: 1827-1940
    Includes over 70,000 bibliographic citations for fiction, poetry and literary reviews published in 110 black periodicals and newspapers.
     
  • Book Review Digest
    Ref Z1219 .C96
    Coverage: 1906-1996
    Indexes and excerpts book reviews from about 75 magazines and newspapers.
     
  • Book Review Index
    Ref Z1035 .A1 B62
    Coverage: 1965-1997
    Indexes book reviews from about 450 publications.
     
  • LexisNexis Academic Restricted Resource
    Coverage: varies, but some titles go back to the 1970s
    Full text of major national and international newspapers.
    • Book Reviews. A useful, but more limited search.
    • Power Search. A more comprehensive search.
      - Select "All News (English)" from the source drop-down menu.
      - Paste the following into the search terms box. Substitute for italicized terms:
      HLEAD (author first name w/3 author last name) AND HLEAD (book title) AND TERMS (book reviews)

 + / - Additional Sources

When to Use Them
The library has a significant number of books that discuss national literatures, literary movements, or recurring literary themes. Many of these devote chapters or large sections to individual authors or particular literary works. In most cases, you will be consulting these sources after finding a citation to them in another book or essay.
 

How to Find Them
The best way to find out if one of these books includes a discussion of a particular author is to consult a bibliography of criticism written about your subject. If one is not available, the following strategies can be used in searching the library's catalog.
 

  • Find books about a particular national literature by performing a subject heading search in ALEX that combines the name of a nationality or region with subheadings as shown in the examples below. Each of these searches will result in a list of different titles. (You may disregard punctuation and capitalization when entering the phrase in the search box.)
    American literature
    American literature -- History and criticism
    Latin American fiction
    Latin American fiction -- History and criticism

     
  • Find books that focus on works written during a particular period by performing a subject heading search in ALEX that combines the name of a nationality or region with the word "literature" and a date. Look for books under both the main heading (i.e., French literature -- 16th century) and applicable subdivisions (i.e., French literature -- 16th century -- History and criticism).
     
    Books focusing on literary works written after 1800 are subdivided by century (e.g., Russian literature -- 20th century). Period subdivisions for American, English, French, German and Spanish literature before 1800 are as follows:
    American literature -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
    American literature -- Revolutionary period, 1775-1783
    American literature -- 1783-1850
    English literature -- Middle English, 1100-1500
    English literature -- Early modern, 1500-1700
    French literature -- To 1500
    French literature -- 16th century
    French literature -- 17th century
    German literature -- Old High German, 750-1050
    German literature -- Middle High German, 1050-1500
    German literature -- Early modern, 1500-1700
    Spanish literature -- To 1500
    Spanish literature -- Classical period, 1500-1700

     
    Other helpful period subdivisions include:
    Classical literature
    Literature, Medieval
    European literature -- Renaissance, 1450-1600

     
  • Find books about a particular literary movement or theme by performing a subject search in ALEX that combines a word related to your topic with the phrase "in literature" (e.g, marriage in literature or naturalism in literature). Library of Congress Subject Headings are not always consistent, so you may want to try some keyword searches that combine a word related to your topic with the phrase "and literature."

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