You can find a number of resources on literature both in the library and online. On the shelves, look for information about literature and writing, such as criticism and books on how to write an essay, in the 800s. Additionally, plays, poems, essays and works of fiction from ancient, medieval and Renaissance times can be found in the 800s.
Some books of criticism may be found in the library's reference section and must stay in the building. Novels and short stories are in the fiction section in alphabetical order by the author's last name.
You can also find full-text poems, book recommendations, criticism and more in Books, reading, and literature.
As always, if you have trouble finding a book or accessing an online resource, just Ask Us!
Many famous authors have full-length biographies written about them that can be found in the Biographies section of the library under that person's last name. For example, the biography Updike by Adam Begley can be found under the call number "B Updike." In addition, many works of criticism will also contain biographical references and information.
Literary anthologies often have introductions that provide excellent historical overviews of the works they contain.
There are a few places in the library where you can find literary criticism. Although you cannot check out books in the reference section, there are a number that have great deal of information on many different literary works. Many of these are anthologies, collections of different works of criticism in one volume. Further, there are books that you can check out that are criticism of one book exclusively, such as Critical Essays on Richard Wright's Native Son by Keneth Kinnamon (editor) [813.52 CRI (OWL)]. Additionally, the library's online resources are always available.
A book review should not be confused with literature criticism. A book review is written at the time a title is published, with the purpose of providing a basic assessment of the book's quality for the general reader. Literature criticism is typically written years or even centuries after publication, with the purpose of helping students and scholars understand the significance of a book within history or examining a particular aspect of a work of literature.
Literature criticism tends to have more depth than book reviews, but book reviews are nevertheless important resources. It is often difficult to find criticism of non-fiction titles, new books or obscure writers. In such cases, look for information in book reviews.
Book reviews are typically published in magazines and newspapers, both online and in print.
The New York Times also provides a free full-text archive of reviews dating back to 1981.
Worthington Libraries owns several series of theater yearbooks. In these yearbooks, you can find information about plays shown in New York in a given season, the cast of characters and lists of actors. In some volumes, a necrology, or list of obituaries of famous theater persons who passed away during that theater season, can be found. Additionally, full text of some of the year's top plays is reproduced.
Criticism of Shakespeare's works as well as copies of the works themselves can be found in both the reference and circulating sections of the Library under call numbers beginning 822.33. To find criticism of specific works, do a keyword search in the catalog for "(name of play) criticism interpretation."
revised June 2014
The resources listed in these guides are good places to begin your research, but they represent only some of the materials available at the Library. If you wish to explore these topics further or if you have any questions, please Ask Us!