Literary Theory & Criticism

Handbooks, Dictionaries, Bibliographies Periodical Indexes, Journals Subject Searching
HBLL 2003-2004
see also the related research guides on English and American Literature, American Literature and Comparative Literature

Robert S. Means, English and American Literature Librarian, 5525 HBLL, 422-6117


  1. Handbooks
  2. Dictionaries
  3. Bibliographies
  4. HBLL Catalog
  5. Journals
  6. Periodical Indices
  7. Other Literary Resources
  8. Other Resources/Services
  9. Internet Resources

Literary criticism is classified in the Library of Congress (LC) numbers PN 75-99 – in the stacks as well as in Humanities/Religion Reference (Humanities Ref.), where we keep a selection of literary theory and criticism reference sources. Below are some examples.


Humanities Ref.
PN 41 .F75 1997
The Harper Handbook to Literature / Northrop Frye ... [et al.]. 2nd [rev.] ed. New York : Longman, c1997.
Humanities Ref.
PN 83 .C74x 1994
The Critical Experience : Literary Reading, Writing, and Criticism / David Cowles, editor ; Mike Austin ... [et al.] 2nd ed. Dubuque, Iowa : Kendall/Hunt, c1994.
Humanities Ref.
PN 81 .G8 1999
A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature / Wilfred L. Guerin ... [et al.]. 4th ed. New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.
Humanities Ref.
PN 81 .J64x 1994
The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism / edited by Michael Groden and Martin Kreiswirth. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c1994.
Humanities Ref.
PN 45 .C74 1987
Critical Survey of Literary Theory / edited by Frank N. Magill. Pasadena, Calif. : Salem Press, c1987.

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Humanities Ref.
PN 44.5 .H37 1998
A Glossary of Contemporary Literary Theory / Jeremy Hawthorn. 3rd ed. London ; New York : Arnold, 1998.
Humanities Ref.
PN 98 .S6O77 1991
A Dictionary of Critical Theory / Leonard Orr. New York : Greenwood Press, 1991.
Humanities Ref.
PN 98 .W64 E53
Encyclopedia of Feminist Literary Theory / editor, Elizabeth Kowaleski-Wallace. New York : Garland, 1997.

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Humanities Ref.
PN 81 .X1 H35
Literary Criticism : Plato Through Johnson / Compiled by Vernon Hall. New York : Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1970.
Humanities Ref.
PN 81 .X1 M37 1993
Contemporary Critical Theory : a Selective Bibliography / Donald G. Marshall. New York : Modern Language Association of America, 1993.
Humanities Ref.
PN 81 .X1 R36 1996
Recent Work in Critical Theory, 1989-1995 : an Annotated Bibliography / compiled by William Baker and Kenneth Womack. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1996.

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Keyword Searching Searches every field in the record (brings up a lot, but not always relevant material).
Advanced Searching Allows you to customize your search to look for words in the title, subject field or elsewhere in the record.
Browse Alphabetically Searches the subject field in the record (what the book is about).

This is the best way to find what the HBLL has about an author: simply enter the author's last name, first name (for example "Frost, Robert") and you'll get a list of works on Frost:
bibliographies, biographies, criticism and interpretation, etc.
An efficient way to search the Lee Library catalog is to use a subject search. When you search by subject, you're searching book records for their contents (for example, books about "Criticism"), and not just for key words in book titles (for example, a key-word search for "Criticism" might bring up a book entitled How Plants Respond to Criticism). The trick is to know how your subject is phrased in the Lee Library catalog. Some examples of recognizable subject terms for "criticism," "literary theory," etc., are:

Literature-History and Criticism

To search by subject, select the "Browse" or "Advanced" search option(s), enter your subject, Criticism, for example in the "Search Term" box and click on "Subject"as the search category.. Now browse the related headings to find other related subjects. For example:

If you subject search for Criticism, then click on "related subject headings," you'll see listed the broader subject search term, Rhetoric, along with the narrower subject terms, Deconstruction, Feminist Criticism, Formalism, Literary Analysis, Hermeneutics, Intertextuality, Marxist Criticism, New Criticism, Reader-response Criticism, Rhetorical Criticism, and Structuralism Literary Analysis. Aesthetics is also included as a related subject term.

Each of these broader, narrower, or related subject headings is linked to the books in the library which cover it: simply click on a subject heading to see a list of titles in the Lee Library which cover the subject.

Truncation Use the "$" to search for the variations on a root word:
"poet$" will retrieve "poets," "poetry," "poetic," "poetics," etc.
Subject Links When you're looking at a book record in the HBLL catalog, check the highlighted subject links, you may want to click on one to bring up other titles in the HBLL that deal with the same subject.
Call Number Browsing When you find a book on your subject, click on the highlighted call number in the upper LH corner of the HBLL catalog record to see what other books are near it on the shelf.

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PN 80 .D5
Diacritics. Baltimore, Md. [etc.] Johns Hopkins University Press. In print and online version at
PN 80 .P3X
Paragraph: the Journal of the Modern Critical Theory Group.
Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] : The Group, 1983-
PR 1 .N44
New Literary History. [Baltimore, etc. Johns Hopkins University Press, etc.] In print and online version at literary history/

You can also search the Lee Library catalog under these subjects for journals treating literary theory and criticism (for more on subject searching in the Lee Library catalog, see "Subject Searching" above):

Semiotics and literature--Periodicals

American literature--History and criticism--Periodicals
English literature--History and criticism--Periodicals
Literature--History and criticism--Periodicals

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Humanities Ref.
PB 41 .X1 M6

MLA International Bibliography (ProQuest)
Modern Language Association International Bibliography
Indexes articles in literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore. From 1921 in the print version. The electronic version covers from 1963, and is updated ten times per year.
Humanities Ref.
PE 51 .X1 M69

Annual Bibliography of English Lang. & Literature (ABELL)
Indexes books, scholarly articles, critical editions of literary works, book reviews, collections of essays and dissertations dealing with English language and literature published anywhere in the world. From 1920 in print and electronic versions.

Humanities Ref.
AI 9 .I5

International Bibliography of Periodical Literature (IBZ)
Aus allen Gebieten des Wissens = International bibliography of periodical literature covering all fields of knowledge = Bibliographie internationale de la littérature périodique dans tous les domaines de la connaissance. Indexes international periodicals in all scholarly disciplines. Electronic version indexes from 1989. Updated twice a year."
Periodicals Archive Online (ProQuest)
Indexes the contents of thousands of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences, from their first issues through 1991 (1770-1991). Includes journals in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
AI 1 .A27x

Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI): Web of Science (ISI)
From 1975-1993 in the print version. Indexes over 1,300 international arts and humanities journals. Also indexes all references cited within the articles. The electronic version, the Arts/Humanities Search (Citations), indexes from 1980, and is updated weekly.
Humanities Index
Humanities Ref.
AI 3 .H85

Humanities Full Text (EBSCO)
Includes 350 journals in archaeology, area studies, art, classics, communications, dance, film, history, linguistics, literature, music, performing arts, philosophy, and religion. From 1974 in the print version. The electronic version, Humanities Abstracts, covers from 1984, and is updated monthly.
Contains 48 of the very best literature journals in full-text going back to their first issue (in some cases to the late 1800's). The articles are retrieved in Adobe Acrobat and so appear as they did when they were originally published.
Project MUSE
Indexes the full text of nearly 200 scholarly journals in literature, literary theory, and popular culture studies; however, in most cases, only a few of the most recent years of each journal are available in the Project MUSE archives.
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Literature Resource Center Literature Resource Center (LRC)(Gale)
Provides access to biographies, bibliographies, critical analysis, and Web resources of authors from every age and literary discipline. Covers more than 90,000 novelists, poets, essayists, journalists and other writers, with in-depth coverage of 2,000 of the most-studied authors. Searchable by Author Name, Title, Genre, Literary Movement or Literary Themes.

Humanities Ref.
PE 1625 .O87 1989

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Online
2nd ed. / prepared by J.A. Simpson and E.S.C. Weiner. Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1989. The 20 volume 2nd ed. OED includes 320,000 entries of English words; 580,000 cross-references; and 2.4 million quotations.

Book Review Digest
Gen Ref
Z 1219 .C96

Indexes book reviews of popular English-language fiction and non-fiction from the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. From 1905 in the print version. The electronic version covers from 1983, and is updated monthly.

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Catalogs of Other Libraries The HBLL home page provides access to the online catalogs of other libraries: academic and public libraries in Utah, and across the USA (including the Library of Congress). The library home page also connects you to RLIN (the Research Library Information Network) and OCLC (Worldcat), the two largest databases of records from major research libraries in the country. It also links to catalogs of libraries in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and South America, Europe, and the UK.

Interlibrary Loan
3421 HBLL

Books or journals not held by the Lee Library may be obtained from other libraries, through the Interlibrary Loan office. Books are sent free of charge and can be kept for 2 weeks. Journal articles are photocopied and sent for a charge of 10 cents per page.

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A great place to start is at the Online Literary Criticism Collection ( The Online Literary Criticism Collection contains 2498 critical and biographical websites about authors and their works that can be browsed by author, by title, or by nationality and literary period.
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