L&S 000: R&C Sample Page

Literary Criticism v. Book Reviews

Literary Criticism is in-depth scholarly analysis of a literary work.  As such, literary criticism may be published months, years or centuries after the publication of the literary work. 

Book reviews are published at the time of the publication of the literary work and are intended for potential readers.  Although they can be very useful to a student they are not considered scholarly works.

Article Databases

Search an article database to find citations (title, author, title of journal, date, page numbers) for articles on a particular topic.  The Library gives you access to over 200 article databases covering different disciplines.

1.  Think about which academic disciplines might write about your topic.  Examples:  literature, film, anthropology, history...

2.  Find the appropriate article database by subject (academic discipline or department).  Look for "Recommended" databases.

Library home > Articles > Article Databases by Subject

Finding Literary Criticism: Articles

Search strategies for MLA Bibliography:

1.  Search by title of the literary work (example:  gangster of love)

2.  If you need to retrieve more items, search by the author's name (ex:  hagedorn, jessica)

3.  You may have to combine the title with the author's name; if so, put them in separate lines:

morrison, toni

4.  Look through your search results for useful search terms; combine them with author's names or other search terms.  Use the truncation symbol/wildcard * to retrieve variant word endings:

kincaid, jamaica

french caribbean

Where is the actual article?

The full text of some articles is available online via the Library's article databases. For other articles you'll need to find the physical library location and call number of the journal.

The easiest way to do this is to use the UC e-links feature which is available in many (not all) databases.

When you find an item you're interested in, click on the UC e-links icon, which will lead to links to full text if available, or else a link to the Next Generation MELVYL catalog.  Click on the Next Generation MELVYL link to search for the library location of the journal.

Watch the UC e-links movie!  (4 minutes).  For assistance in reading a Next Generation MELVYL record for a journal title, go here  or ask for assistance.


To find books, DVDs, maps, sound recordings, manuscripts, and much more - everything except articles - use a library catalog.

OskiCat = most UC Berkeley libraries

MELVYL = all UC campus libraries, including all UC Berkeley libraries

What's the difference?  more details here

For each item make sure you know the name of the physical library, call number, and whether or not it's checked out, library use only, etc.

Call numbers are on the spine of the book; learn how to read them so you can find what you need on the shelves.

Finding Literary Criticism - Books @ UCB

Start with OskiCat to find literary criticism in book form in the UCB libraries.

Criticism on very famous works may be searched using the title of the literary work, but don't forget to search by author:

othello criticism
william shakespeare criticism

or by subject:

gender identity in literature

For each item make sure you know the name of the physical library, call number, and whether  it's checked out, library use only, etc.

If the author is very contemporary there may not be literary criticism in book form yet.  Try MELVYL or search for articles; or ask for research assistance.

Last Update: February 02, 2012 16:56 | Tagged with: reading_and_composition