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Bethel Libraries

Literary Studies: Articles & Journals

Selected resources for research in literary studies

Search Tips

  • When using a research database, as opposed to the web, connect search words with AND (shakespeare and women); (criticism and pynchon)
  • Use quotes to search for an exact title ("intimations of immortality")
  • Use OR to search synonyms (criticism or analysis or interpretation)
  • Search by keywords, not sentences (criticism and dickinson) instead of: analysis of the poems of emily dickinson
  • Use * to get different endings of a root word (analy* finds analysis, analyses, analyze

Scholarly Analysis of Literature

All the databases listed here may be found at the library website, or the BLink library tab in the Language, Lit & Poetry category of Databases & Sources by Subject

Difference Between Literary Analysis & Review

While the terms "review" and "criticism" are often used interchangeably, there are differences between them. Note how books are often referred to by their genre when discussing criticism--novel, short story, poetry, etc.--and simply "books" when discussing reviews.

Literary criticism is the study, interpretation, and evaluation of a piece of literature and its place in literary history. Literary criticism usually offers interpretation of things like meaning, analysis of structure and style, judgement of its worth by comparison with other works, and an estimation of its likely effect on readers. Literary theory (e.g., feminist, postmodernist, etc.) often informs the critical analysis of a work.

Literary criticism differs from book reviews in several ways: it entails both analysis and judgement; it may be published many years after a work is released; it is usually longer and more complex than a book review. A book review is more "consumer-oriented," placing more emphasis on recommendation than analysis.Book reviews are usually written around the time of the work's publication, and then perhaps again when a reprint or new edition  is released.

Reviews of books may be found in online databases that index newspapers and general interest magazines (e.g., New York Times Book Review, New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The New Republic, etc.).

In-depth criticism and analyses of literary works may be found in more scholarly or academic publications (e.g., PMLA, New Literary History, American Literature, etc.) indexed in disciplinary databases, like the MLA Bibliography or scholarly journal collections such as JSTOR or Project Muse.

(The above adapted from something written by Patricia Mardeusz, Librarian at the Bailey/Howe Library of the U of Vermont, and used with permission.)

Book Reviews

It's easy these days to find book reviews. What's not always easy is finding a particular review, rather than just any, or else reviews outside of the "usual suspects" from something like Amazon or some reading-enthusiast's blog.

To find a greater variety of reviews by professional writers, you'll need a magazine or newspaper index, and you'll need a subscription to get to the full text, which you have via Bethel. Use the library site to find them (Go to Databases & Sources by Subject).

For contemporary reviews of books written before the mid-80s: Electronic indexes often only go back to about the 1980s. For reviews of books written before then, you'll need that old technology--the book. Look for the Book Review Index upstairs in our index collection. Once you get your citations from there, use the Journal Title search on our page to find our access to the journals, magazines or newspapers.

Most database interfaces offer an Advanced Search option that includes various ways to limit your results. One of the common limits is something like Document Type. If you don't see that kind of option, you can always use the word "review" as one of your search terms. While this isn't fool-proof, it does a pretty good job of getting you reviews rather than other types of things about your movie.

Any of the databases listed in the box above will contain reviews as well as analysis. In addition to these, try the resources below:

Scholarly, Popular, Trade?

Different types of publications have different purposes and different audiences. When we talk about journals, we can usually divide these publications into three broad categories: scholarly, popular, and trade publications.


Scholarly Journals Popular Journals Trade Journals
Purpose Informs and reports on original research done by scholars and experts in the field.Entertains and informs a general audience without providing in-depth analysis.Reports on industry trends and new products or techniques useful to people in a trade or business.
AuthorsArticles are written by subject specialists and experts in the field.Articles are written by journalists, freelance writers, or an editorial staff.Articles are written by specialists in a certain field or industry.
AudienceIntended for a limited audience - researchers, scholars, and experts.Intended for a broad segment of the population, appealing to non-specialists.Intended for practititioners in a particular profession, business, or industry.

Getting Full Text

We have LOTS of full text in our databases at Bethel. Look for direct links to the full text in your results list and click on them to display the articles.

When you don't see such a link, look instead for a link that says "Search for Bethel Libraries Full Text" or an icon like this:

360 Link

Click on it to see whether we have full text available in one or more of our many full text databases or journal subscriptions.

If you have a citation in hand and want to find out if we have access to that journal, use our Journal Title search.

Finding More Articles

When searching for scholarly journal articles, first try the library's Research Databases. If you would like to expand your search, or use a familiar interface, you might try Google Scholar. Full-text @ My Library will link to the article when available from the Bethel University Library.