The following links will take you to online encyclopedias and reference manuals to help you get started on your research. Here you can find general background information, definitions, and history on many literary terms and concepts specific to literary criticism.
his book provides precise definitions of terms and concepts in literary theory, along with explanations of the major movements and figures in literary and cultural theory and an extensive bibliography. It is designed for the student who needs to know what a particular term means, how it is used, and where it comes from, and enables them to apply the terms and concepts to their own investigations
A comprehensive encyclopedia of literary and cultural theory. Covers Literary Theory from 1900 to 1966, Literary Theory from 1966 to the present, and Cultural Theory. This encyclopedia provides accessible entries on the important concepts, theorists and trends in post-1900 literary and cultural theory. With explanations of complex terms and important theoretical concepts, and summaries of the work and ideas of key figures, it is a highly informative reference work for a multi-disciplinary readership.
The library also has a number of print encyclopedias that can be found in the Reference section on the second floor of the library. Reference books cannot be checked out of the library, but there are scanners available on the second floor that can be used to scan information from these texts into a PDF which you can email to yourself.
While concentrating on the explosion of contemporary critical and theoretical works, the Guide presents a comprehensive historical survey of ideas and individuals ranging from Plato and Aristotle to twentieth-century scholars. It includes more than 240 alphabetically arranged entries on critics and theorists, critical schools and movements, and the critical and theoretical innovations of specific countries and historical periods. It also examines developments in other disciplines which have shaped literary theory and criticism. An international, encyclopedic guide to the field's most important figures, schools, and movements, the new edition reflects the state of literary theory and criticism.
A reference for students in late high school and early college who are examining literature from the perspective of literary movements. Entries are international in scope, and describe some 500 major and less well-known literary movements, schools, genres, techniques, and terms of the 20th century, as well as major 19th-century movements which have exerted tremendous influence on 20th-century literature. Each entry describes writers identified with the movement; representative works; literary techniques and philosophical and artistic tenets; and historical and cultural context.
Use databases to find academic articles to continue your research. Below are the most helpful databases for finding relevant articles for literary criticism topics. The MLA International Bibliography is the most popular, as it indexes most published works in literature. Make sure to click the "full text" option when searching if you are looking for the full article PDF.
An archive of important scholarly journals, eBooks and primary sources in 75 disciplines. Offers high-resolution, scanned images of journal issues and pages as originally published.
Good Starting Journals for Literary Criticism
The following are links to specific academic journals which are published and peer-reviewed by experts in the field. If you want to narrow your search to a specific time period or genre, finding a journal that publishes in that area can help.
A unique take on literary criticism, Style "addresses questions of style, stylistics, and poetics including research and theory in discourse analysis, literary and nonliterary genres, narrative, figuration, metrics, rhetorical analysis, and the pedagogy of style."
Not too long ago, literary theorists were writing about the death of the novel and the death of the author; today many are talking about the death of Theory. Theory, as the many theoretical ism's (among them postcolonialism, postmodernism, and New Historicism) are now known, once seemed so exciting but has become ossified and insular. This iconoclastic collection is an excellent companion to current anthologies of literary theory, which have embraced an uncritical stance toward Theory and its practitioners. Written by nearly fifty prominent scholars, the essays in Theory's Empire question the ideas, catchphrases, and excesses that have let Theory congeal into a predictable orthodoxy. More than just a critique, however, this collection provides readers with effective tools to redeem the study of literature, restore reason to our intellectual life, and redefine the role and place of Theory in the academy.
Since its publication in 1990, Critical Terms for Literary Study has become a landmark introduction to the work of literary theory—giving tens of thousands of students an unparalleled encounter with what it means to do theory and criticism. Significantly expanded, this new edition features six new chapters that confront, in different ways, the growing understanding of literary works as cultural practices.
This book offers foundations for a literary criticism which seeks to mediate between writers and readers belonging to different historical periods or social groupings. This makes it, among other things, a timely intervention in the postmodern "culture wars," though the theory put forward will be of interest not only to students of literature and culture, but also to linguists. Sell describes communication in general as strongly interactive, as very much affected by the disparate situationalities of "sending" and "receiving," yet as by no means completely determined by them. Seen this way, men and women are both social beings and individuals, capable of empathizing with sociohistorical formations which are alien to them, sometimes even to the extent of changing their own life-world. By treating literary activity as communicational in this same dynamic sense, Sell radically modifies the main paradigms of twentieth-century literary theory, casting much new light on questions of genre, interpretation, affect and ethics.