Literary Criticism


This guide is designed to help you research information about literary criticism. It includes an index of scholarly sources that should be used. Included in the list are websites and search engines that will be helpful in your research. If you have any trouble finding these sources, please ask a librarian for help. Good Luck! Any comments or suggestions are welcome!

  • RCC Library Home Page: Most materials found in this research guide are available at the library's home page.
  • Reference Desk: Please contact me if you have any questions concerning this guide or research.



The on-line catalog provides access to the Library's collection of approximately 40,000 books, periodicals and audio-visual titles. These resources may be used to find information for assignments or general interest.

Tutorial for searching catalog and ordering books from Metro Boston Library Network (includes Boston Public Library)

Good Search Terms to use

  • Use specific title or author when searching:
    • Example 1: "Alice Walker and literary criticism"
    • Example 2. "Color Purple and literary criticism"
    • We have whole books in our collection dedicated to literary criticism of specific authors or books.
  • "Literary Criticism"
  • "Critical essays"
  • "Critical interpretations"

Circulating Books

african_amer_lit.jpgWalters, Tracey L. African American Literature and the Classicist Tradition: Black women writers from Wheatley to Morrison. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007. Print.
Call Number: PS153.N5 W335 2007

Olster, Stacey, ed. The Cambridge Companion to John Updike. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.
Call Number: PS3571.P4 Z586 2006

Bates, Gerri. Alice Walker: A critical companion. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2005. Print.
Call Number: PS3573.A425 Z57 2005

Electronic Books


The library has recently added 20,000 online books from the vendor Ebrary. This is the “community college” collection, of interest to students and faculty at 2-year colleges. All books are simultaneously available to all RCC users.

James Baldwin and Toni Morrison: comparative critical theoretical essays
King, Lovalerie and Lynn Orilla Scott, eds. James Baldwin and Toni Morrison: Comparative critical theoretical essays. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Web.

Asian North American Identities : Beyond the Hyphen
Ty, Eleanor Rose and Donald C. Goellnicht. Asian North American Identities: Beyond the Hyphen. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 200. Web.


The Chronicles of Panchita Villa and Other Guerrilleras: Essays on Chicana/Latina literature and criticism.
Rebolledo, Tey Diana. The Chronicles of Panchita Villa and Other Guerrilleras: Essays on Chicano/Latina literature and criticism. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005. Web.

Book Cover
Book Cover

Performing Women and Modern Literary Culture in Latin America : Intervening Acts
Unruh, Vickey. Performing Women and Modern Literary Culture in Latin America: Intervening Acts. Austin: University of Texas Press, 200. Web.

Reference Books


Smith, Valerie, ed. African American Writers. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2001. Print.
Call Number: Ref. PS153.N5 A344 2001

Peck, David, ed. American Ethnic Writers. Hackensack: Salem Press, Inc, 2000. Print.
Call Number: Ref. PS153.M56 A414 2000

Unger, Leonard, ed. American Writers: A collection of literary biographies. New York : Scribner, 1996. Print.
Call Number: Ref. PS129.A55

Salem Press. Notable Latino Writers. Hackensack: Salem Press, Inc, 2006. Print.
Call Number: Ref. PS153.H56 N68 2006


Harris, Wendell V. Dictionary of Concepts in Literary Criticism and Theory. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992. Print.
Call Number: Ref. PN41 .H36 1992

Jackson, Guida. Encyclopedia of Literary Epics. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1996. Print.
Call Number: Ref. PN56.E65 J331 1996

Literary Criticism

Richter, David H., ed. The Critical Tradition: Classic texts and contemporary trends.Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2007. Print.
Call Number: REF PN81 .C844 2007

Sandin, Lyn Di Iorio and Richard Perez, eds. Contemporary U.S. Latino/a Literary Criticism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Print.
Call Number: REF PS153.H56 C67 2007

Ervin, Hazel Arnett, ed. African American Literary Criticism, 1773 to 2000. New York: Twayne, 1999. Print.
Call Number: REF PS153.N5 A33 1999

Krstovic, Jelena O., ed. Black Literature Criticism: Classic and emerging authors since 1950. Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.
Call Number: REF PS153.N5N557 2008x

Krstovic, Jelena O, ed. Hispanic Literature Criticism. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1994. Print.
Call Number: REF PQ7081.A1 H573 1994

Valdes, Mario J. and Djelal Kardir, eds. Literary Cultures of Latin America : A comparative history. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.Print.
Call Number: REF PQ7081.A1 L525 2004


Browse these paper journals and magazines in the library's periodicals section for articles about literary criticism.
  • Contemporary Literature


Access to millions of journal, magazine, newspaper and reference source articles through our research databases.

Literary Reference Center

Literary Reference Center™ is a comprehensive database that provides users with a broad spectrum of information on thousands of authors and their works across literary disciplines and timeframes. This is the best place to start.

Literature Resource Center

Find up-to-date biographical information, overviews, full-text literary criticism and reviews on more than 130,000 writers in all disciplines, from all time periods and from around the world. The optional MLA International Bibliography module adds citations for hundreds of thousands of books, articles and dissertations from 1926 to the present, linked to full text where available.

BPL Biography Databases

Biography databases from the Boston Public Library. You can use your RCC library barcode for access. These databases contain more than 400,000 biographies on nearly 275,000 people gathered from over 90 reference sources, including Biography Resource Center, Biography Resource Center: African Americans and Oxford African American Studies Center. Good place to find information about authors.

BPL Literature Databases

Literature databases from the Boston Public Library. You can use your RCC library barcode for access. These databases include LitFinder (contains a wealth of literary works including over 150,000 full-text poems and 800,000+ poetry citations, as well as short stories, speeches, and plays. For students or patrons seeking a deeper view into literature, LitFinder also includes secondary materials like biographies, images, and more!) and Contemporary Literary Criticism (CLC is an extensive collection of critical essays on contemporary authors. Each entry contains a biographical/critical introduction, listing of principal works, and sources for further study.)

Academic Search Premier

Provides full text for more than 3,800 scholarly publications covering academic areas of study. Searching yields over 3,000 results on the terms critic* and Shakespeare, 250 for critic* and Toni Morrison, and 50 for critic* and Langston Hughes.

Web sites

There are some good literary criticism web sites on the internet. These web sites have been evaluated by library staff. Remember to always evaluate internet resources. To find out more about evaluating web sites, Cornell University has a very good guide.

Citing Sources: Style Guides

APA Style Tutorial
Laguardia Community College Library MLA and APA citation style
The Owl at Purdue: APA Formatting and Style Guide
The Owl at Purdue: MLA 2009 Formatting and Style Guide

Basic Research Help

Please click the Ask a Librarian icon if you have any questions concerning these guides, need help finding material for your research or any general questions you might have.

General Library Information

Research guide prepared on 05/29/08 by William Hoag: Updated on 4/1/114 by Joy Singletary.