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Literary & Film Criticism

This guide provides information about how to find literary criticism and film criticism.

Finding Literary (or Film) Criticism in Databases

Literary and film criticism can be found in journals and books. When searching the library databases (or other resources), common search terms include:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Theory or type of criticism (such as feminist, postcolonial, marxist, etc.)
  • Keywords related to a theme, character, plot point, etc.

Tip: Always use “quotation marks” around titles, authors, and other search terms that involve multiple words (such as “Pride and Prejudice” or “industrial revolution”).

Most databases also provide options for limiting your search by:

  • Source type
  • Document or content type
  • Publication date
  • Peer reviewed

Gale Literature Resource Center

Advanced Search

Using the advanced search option allows you to utilize multiple search terms and narrow the search.

Advanced search with terms including "Pride and Prejudice" and "Jane Austen"

Other limiters include limiting to peer-reviewed journals and limiting by content type ("Literature Criticism").

"Peer-Reviewed Journals" search limiter with a check boxContent type option in Advanced Search, with a check mark next to "Literature Criticism"

Results

Gale Literature Resource Center divides your search results into categories.

"Showing results for" category on the search results page. "Literature Criticism" is in bold.

There are also filtering options available on the right.

Filter categories on the search results page in Gale Literature Resource Center.

Peer-reviewed sources are labelled on the search results page.

Peer-reviewed label

EBSCO

Literary and film criticism can be found in multiple EBSCO databases, but Academic Search Premier is likely your best bet. Communication & Mass Media Complete may also include relevant sources, especially for films.

Advanced Search

Using the advanced search option in Academic Search Premier, scroll down to the "Document Type" options and select Literary Criticism.

Document Type menu for limiting search results in EBSCO

Results

In the left column, limit your search results by "Source Type". Most literary criticism will be found in Academic Journals.

Source type options in EBSCO search results, with Academic Journals checked

Subject Terms

Subject terms are the database's "official" keywords. These can be added by searching the thesaurus ("Subject Terms" at the top of the page) or as a category in the left column on the search results page. Try adding one of these to your search:

  • DE "LITERARY criticism"
  • DE "FILM criticism"

Search in EBSCO including subject terms for literary criticism and film criticism

ProQuest

Advanced Search

Use the "Thesaurus" (found on the advanced search page) to select subject terms, or copy one of these to add to your search string:

  • MAINSUBJECT.EXACT("Literary criticism")
  • MAINSUBJECT.EXACT("Motion picture criticism")

Publications

At the top of the page, click "Publications" to be brought to the publication search page. Under "publication subject", select Literature. You can then browse or search for specific journals.

Publication subject options in ProQuest

Results

Using the left column, limit your search results by Source Type. Most literary and film criticism will be in scholarly sources: Scholarly Journals, Books, or Dissertations & Theses.

Source type options in ProQuest

Reference Databases

Reference databases are not as likely to have literary or film criticism content, but they can be useful for:

  • Background research on the book, author, film, etc.
  • Suggested reading (including criticism) related to the book, author, film, etc.
  • Links to sources found in other library databases (such as EBSCO, ProQuest, and Gale databases)