English 170 Course Guide
Research guide for English 170: Introduction to Literary Studies
Bibliographer for English
- English Research Guides
- English Course Guides
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- ENG 395 Course Guide
- ENG 399 Course Guide
- ENG 701 Course Guide
- ENG 724 Course Guide
- English Literature Subject Guides
State of Criticism
These are some resources that can help you understand what is going on in the criticism of a given work. Where has the focus of the conversation been? Are some sorts of critic more attracted to this work than others?
- Literature Criticism Online
- Provides overviews and excerpts of the major criticism on a work, author, or topic.
- Literature Resource Center
- Work overviews and more. Good bibliographies. Not the best source for original critical articles, however.
- The CUNY Catalog
- Use the Guided Search and search for items in the location "Reference." This should find some handbooks and encyclopedias, which will give good overviews and bibliographies.
If you could use further explanation of these theoretical frameworks, or want to get a little more specific about the critical tools available to you, try these resources:
- The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism -- Reference Level 3 PN81 .J554 2005
- An immensely helpful encyclopedia of theory and criticism.
- Literary Theory: An Introduction -- Level 5 PN94 .E2 1996b
- Terry Eagleton's classic, engaging introduction to literary theory.
- Literary Theory: A Guide for the Perplexed -- Level 5 PN81 .K53 2006
- A guide that attempts to explain theory in a clear, concise way.
- Gale Virtual Reference Library
- A collection of online subject encyclopedias. Can provide a good explanation of theoretical concepts and often includes good bibliographies.
The CUNY Catalog -- Searching for Resources
The library holds many books that can provide a deeper look at theoretical concepts. Besides general guides to theory, we have books on specific critical approaches.
Try using these subject headings (search "Subject begins with"):
- Critical Theory -- History -- 20th century
- Feminist literary criticism
- Formalism (Literary analysis)
- Literature -- History and criticism -- Theory, etc.
- Literature -- Philosophy
- Marxist criticism
- Psychoanalysis and literature
- Queer theory
- Structuralism (Literary analysis)
Of course, these are not the only useful subject headings; experimentation with the catalog will reveal more.
Literary Criticism -- Articles
Start at the library's database page. On the left there is an option to sort by subject. From there, you can choose “English” in the drop-down menu.
MLA International Bibliography
The MLA International Bibliography is the most comprehensive database of quality scholarly articles in literature and related fields, and easier to search than many others.
It supports searching fields such as Name of Work and Person--About to search for information on (rather than by) a particular work or author.
To search for different theoretical approaches, type “Approach” in the keyword search.
Use the Find It button to access full text, electronically or in print.
- JSTOR offers full-text access to many journals in all disciplines. Includes full-text searching but no indexing. Please remember that articles from the last 2-5 years are usually not found in JSTOR.
- Literature Criticism Online
- Literature Criticism Online provides overviews and excerpts of the major criticism on a work, author, or topic. This can be very useful when it comes to getting a good idea of what the conversation is regarding your author of interest.
- Project Muse
- Project Muse, similar to JSTOR, offers full text searching of journals across the disciplines. However, it is also a smaller database than JSTOR.
- Literature Resource Center
- Literature Resource Center is not the best source for literary criticism, but it includes a variety of other materials, including interviews, that can be especially helpful when you are researching contemporary authors.
Literary Criticism -- Books
Most authors are subject headings; try a Subject begins with… search, using the author's last name, like this: Dickens Charles
Now, you can browse for useful subheadings. For instance, you may see subject headings that look like this:
- Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 -- Characters
- Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 -- Criticism and Interpretation
- Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 -- Encyclopedias
- Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 -- Hard Times
- Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 -- Political and social views
You could also try a keyword (that is, All Fields) search for more general information on a topic, especially when you are searching for books that do not deal with the author's work specifically but can give you some (theoretical, historical, etc.) context.
The Guided Search in the CUNY Catalog allows you to combine these strategies. For instance, you could search “Charles Dickens” as a subject and “women” as a keyword. This may save you some time when you are interested in a major author.
All the works on an author are usually shelved together, so if you can find one of them, the rest are likely nearby.
You can use call numbers to browse more effectively. The beginning of a call number will tell you what the book is about:
- PN -- General information about literature
- PR -- British literature
- PS -- American literature
Check the 5th floor for circulating books and the 3rd floor for reference materials.
Books or Journals Available at QC
Click on Queens in the record to find the call number. For journal articles, you must search for the JOURNAL TITLE, not the article title. Then, click on Queens to find out which volumes and issues we have. For help reading call numbers, please see this tutorial.
Books in Other CUNY Libraries
Click on “Title Request” and enter the barcode from your QC ID.
Books Not Available in CUNY or Other Materials Not Available at QC
Use interlibrary loan (ILL). It's also available directly from the database in Find It.
Please see the library's online guide to British and American literature. This guide includes more detailed descriptions of all the relevant databases, links to useful resources on the free Web, and more.
Check the bibliographies of any useful works you find for more information. You can find specific works by using the Title begins with search in the CUNY Catalog to search for the title of the book or journal (NOT the title of the chapter or article!).
These are the commands you will use to search in most databases. The most common are:
- Finds documents containing both the words you have entered. Use to search for multiple concepts (such as articles about The House of Mirth and architecture).
- Finds documents containing either of the words you have entered. Use to search for related concepts (such as articles about feminism or women or gender).
- Finds documents containing your first term, but excludes all that also contain your second. Use sparingly to eliminate irrelevant results. For instance, you could search for articles referencing Lolita but not Tehran.
* (asterisk) is called a wildcard. Use it to search for words with a particular stem. For instance, use “femin*” to search for documents referencing feminism, feminist, feminists, or femininity. PLEASE NOTE: Some databases may use another symbol instead of an asterisk.
When you are searching a database, take a minute to look over the interface and see what limiters are available. These often take the form of checkboxes. Common limiters include:
- Date range searching
- Limits to a particular type of item (e.g. articles only, or no dissertation abstracts)
- Specific language searching (e.g. English only)
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.
- Stacks (Call # A-L Level 4; Call # P-Z Level 5) - LB2369 .G53 2009
- Reference Level 3 - LB2369 .G53 2009
- Online MLA Formatting and Style Guide from the OWL at Purdue