Research Guides


The Literary Criticism, Book Reviews and Biographies guide will assist you in finding critical material on various literary subjects in the library.  Use the individual tabs to search for sources in specific literature areas.  If you simply want to browse the shelves, here are some broad call number areas to peruse both in Reference on the second floor and in the Circulating collection on the third floor.

General Literature including film - PN
American Literature including plays and novels - PS
English Literature including plays and novels - PR
General Fiction - PZ

Literary Criticisms

Literary criticism can be located using several sources.  Criticisms of significant literary works can be found in the online catalog by conducting a Subject search on the title of a work or on an author’s name, typing the last name first.

Print Reference Sources

The books listed below are just a sample of what is available in the literature section of the reference collection on the second floor.

more informationContemporary Literary Criticism | Ref. PN771 .C59

Excerpts of critical reviews of modern works; continued online in Gale Literary Databases

more informationPoetry Criticism | PN1010 .P62

Excerpts of critical reviews on poems and poets; continued online by Literature Criticism Online

more informationNew York Theatre Critics Reviews | Ref. PN1601 .N4

Coverage from 1940-1996; excerpts of reviews from major NY publications




Databases are online collections of materials such as journal articles, images, sound recordings and even entire books. The Literature Databases provide numerous online sources for literary criticisms.  The Literary Index provides references to print criticisms in the library's Reference collection.  The Index will provide the name of the resource, the volume and the page number for criticisms of a particular work.

more informationAfrican-American Poetry | Access Online

Poetry by African-Americans from the 18th and 19th centuries.

more informationAmerican Poetry | Access Online

Poems by American poets from colonial times to early 20th century.

more informationEnglish Poetry | Access Online

Collection of British poetry from 8th century to 1900.

more informationFaber Poetry Library | Access Online

20th century poetry collection.

more informationGale Literary Databases | Access Online

Search Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Criticism and Dictionary of Literary Biography.

more informationJSTOR | Access Online

Online journal archive.

more informationLatino Literature | Access Online

Poetry, fiction and plays by leading Latino authors from the 20th century.

more informationLiterary Index | Access Online

Index to literary criticisms and author's biographies in the Reference department.

more informationLiterature Criticism Online | Access Online

Search Poetry Criticism, Drama Criticism, 19th century Literature Criticism, Shakespearean Criticism, Short Story Criticism.

more informationLiterature Resource Center | Access Online

Access numerous literary resources in one search.

more informationShakespeare Collection | Access Online

Collection of Shakespeare's works, reference materials, criticisms and journal articles.


Book Reviews

Book reviews can be located using print and online sources.

Book Review Digest, a print source located in Reference at call number Ref. Z1219 C95, will provide excerpts of reviews. 

The New York Times newspaper is an excellent source for book reviews. The full text is available online with indexing for the years 1851 to 2012 through the Historical New York Times database.  Current issues and indexing are available online also through InfoTrac Custom Newspapers. The print index is located in reference and covers the years 1950 to 2009. The library has the newspaper for these years available on microfilm.

Reviews in Periodicals

A list of the library's literary periodicals can be found by searching the library catalog using the subject search literature periodicals.  Articles on specific subjects are located using an index like the two listed below.  Simply look up the subject and note the citation information for the individual article.

more informationEssay and General Literature Index | Ref. PN1 .E75

Provides citations to journal articles and book reviews

more informationReaders Guide to Periodical Literature | Ref. AI3 R48

Print index shelved in Reference.

The library does not subscribe to all the journals indexed in the Literature Index so check the online catalog to be sure the library has the journal you need.


The first step in locating biographical information is to conduct a Subject search in the library's online catalog for materials about the person. Remember to put the last name first.  If you are looking for materials the person wrote, use an Author search, again typing the last name first.

Next, check online sources such as the encyclopedias and reference works accessible through General Reference Databases located on the library website.  Just click on the Database tab then the appropriate subject area.  Databases in individual subject areas, such as Film, Dance or History, will provide in-depth articles about a particular person and their context within that subject. 

The print sources listed below are in the Reference collection.  They provide general biographical information in multi-volume encyclopedic sets.  Each has an index.

more informationCurrent Biography | Ref. CT100 .C8

Coverage from 1940 to present

more informationEncyclopedia of World Biography | Ref. CT103 .E56 1998

International coverage of notable historical figures

more informationAmerican National Biography | Ref. CT213 .A68 1999

Covers famous American figures from all walks of life