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How to Find Literary Criticism

This guide will help you help find criticism on an author's work

How to Search the Catalogue to Find Criticism

1. Go to the Library's homepage and click on "Advanced Search". 

Screenshot of Patrick Power Library's homepage research box.


2. Under "Search filters", select "Subject" and enter "virginia woolf". You can also limit to Material Type: Books and Language: English.

Screenshot of advanced search features available in Novanet.

3. This will produce relevant search results. 

Screenshot of example Novanet search results in a list.


4. To browse by subject area, click on a title to bring up the full record. The subject in this record, "Woolf, Virginia 1882 - 1941 To the lighthouse", is clickable as well.

Screenshot of details found by clicking a search result in Novanet.


5. Selecting the subject will pull up other catalogue materials that discuss Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse. 

Screenshot of an example Novanet search when filtering by subject area.



Examples of Subject Headings to Use

The following subheadings may be useful too:

Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941 - Bibliography (Bibliography list books and articles that discuss an author's work)

Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941 - Characters

Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941 - Literary style

Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941 - Technique

Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941 - Influence (Influence - this subheading lists items that discuss an author's influence on other authors)  

More Ways to Search the Catalogue

In addition to looking up specific authors in the catalogue, consider searching more broadly for criticism relating to the author. You could search by literary techniques or other characteristics that are associated with your author, such as: literary movement (e.g., Harlem Renaissance; Postcolonialism, Gothic, magical realism), structure or theme (e.g., music, realism, unreliable narrator, epistolary novel), genre (e.g., drama, poetry, short stories), and/or time period (Science fiction - 20th century - History and criticism; Literature, Medieval - History and criticism).

For example, if you were looking for literary criticism on African American writers, you could use the following subject headings:

American literature - African American authors - History and criticism
American drama - African American authors - History and criticism
American fiction - African American authors - History and criticism
American poetry African American authors - History and criticism

Or, to find criticisms about African Americans in written works, you might try the following subject headings:

African Americans in literature

African American women in literature