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Brief Guide to Literary Resources & Criticism: Selected Print Resources


    • Harner, James L. Literary Research Guide: An Annotated Listing of Reference Sources In English Literary Studies. 5th edition. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2008. [REF PR 83 Z999 H376 2008]
    • This is the single most comprehensive guide to English literary studies. Recently updated, it contains 1059 annotated entries. It covers American, British, and other literatures in English. Also contains indexes of names, titles, and subjects.

General Works

    • American Literary Scholarship: An Annual. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1963--.[PS 3 A47]
    • Features selective, critical bibliographical essays on the various topics of American literary study. Part I of each volume treats major authors, while Part II treats periods, genres, and various topics. It contains author and subject indexes.
    • Dictionary of Literary Biography [DLB]. Detroit: Gale, 1978--.[Ref PS129 D53x]
    • Critical bio-bibliographies of English, American, and Commonwealth writers grouped by period, genre, or movement. Following each article is a list of primary works and a bibliography of scholarship and criticism. Yearbooks are published annually (1980--) and contain updates of previously included authors. Use the index of the most recent yearbook to find a particular author. Yearbook also includes the title list of all volumes.
    • Dictionary of Literary Biography [DLB]. Detroit: Gale, 1978--.[Ref PS129 D53x]

Available electronically as part of Literature Resource Center Accessible to University at Albany users only


  • Essay and General Literature Index. NY: HW Wilson, (1900-1984)--. [Ref AI 3 E752]
  • Published semi-annually in June with an annual and a five-year cumulation. Author and subject index to collections of essays and articles which are biographical and analytical in nature, particularly unusual subjects not covered by whole books. Also contains criticisms of individual titles Available electronically as Essay and General Literature IndexAccessible to University at Albany users only
  • Hawkins-Dady, Mark, ed. Reader's Guide to Literature in English. London, Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1996.[Oversized * PR 85 R33 1996]
  • Provides informal description and evaluation of critical writing in a range of topics and writers in the British Isles, United States, and other major English-speaking traditions of the world. Entries are indexed by a thematic list, booklist, and general index.
  • Literary Criticism Series (Gale)The following four series all use a standard format. Biographical sketches of each author and lists of principal works are followed by extensive excerpts from criticism arranged chronologically. Each entry concludes with a bibliography. There are cumulative author and nationality indexes in the back of each volume.
  • Literature Criticism from 1400-1800 [LC]. Detroit: Gale, 1984--. [Ref PN86 L53]
  • Includes novelists, poets, playwrights, philosophers, and other creative writers. Cumulative title index is in the back of each volume.
  • Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism [NCLC]. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1981--.[Ref PN 761 N5]
  • Includes authors who died between 1800 and 1899. Includes several “Topics” volumes. There is a separate cumulative title index.
  • Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism [TCLC]. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1978--.[Ref PN 771 G27]
  • Covers authors who died between 1900 and 1999. This series also contains “Topic” volumes. There is a separate cumulative title index.
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism [CLC]. Detroit: Gale Publishing Company, 1973--.[Ref PN 771 C58x]
  • Included are authors who are now living or who have died since December 31, 1999. Volumes published from 1973 through 1999 include authors who died after December 31, 1959. There is a separate cumulative title index.
  • Magill, Frank N., ed. Cyclopedia of World Authors: Revised Third Edition. 5 vol. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 1997. [PN451 M36 1997].
  • This edition contains introductions to 2,057 authors from around the world and spans from antiquity to the present. In addition to a biography, each entry contains a list of the author’s principal works and a secondary bibliography. Volume 5 contains an author and geographical index, and a time-line that gives the year of the authors’ births.
  • Modern Language Association of American. MLA International Bibliography of Books and Articles on the Modern Languages and Literatures, 1921-25. NY: New York University Press, 1921--62, 73. [Ref PB 1 Z999 M53],
  • From 1921-1962 limited to American scholarship. It now lists literary works by scholars of all countries. Includes Romance, Germanic, Oriental, and Eastern European literatures.

Also available electronically as MLA International Bibliography Accessible to University at Albany users only

(coverage 1963+)


  • Murray, Chris, ed. Encyclopedia of Literary Critics and Criticism. 2 vol. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1999. [Ref PN 75 E53 E53 1999]
  • Covers wide geographical and chronological areas in 374 entries, mainly Western but also a substantial number of non-Western critics and theories. Includes a list of categories organized by individuals, chronological surveys, theories and approaches, and concepts.
  • Peck, David, ed. Identities and Issues in Literature. 3 vols. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 1997. [Ref PS 153 M56 I34 1997]
  • Concentrates on how great social change in North America can be traced in literature by exploring authors’ works and subjects related to North America in world literature. Contains 809 entries arranged alphabetically. Volume 3 contains a mediagraphy, bibliography, category list, and general index.

Black Literature

    • Draper, James P. Black Literature Criticism. 3 vol. Detroit: Gale, 1992.[PS153 N5 B556 1992]
    • A selection of criticism of works by major black writers of the past two hundred years. Entries include a biographical and critical introduction, list of principal works, criticism in chronological order, and a list of further readings. Includes author, nationality, and title indexes.

    • Smith, Valerie, ed. African American Writers. 2nd ed. 2 vol. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2001.[Ref PS 153 N5 A344 2001]
    • Critical anthology of biographical essays of 55 of the most influential African American writers in literature and letters. Essays are arranged alphabetically and include selective bibliographies of primary and secondary sources. An index of fiction and non-fiction titles is included.

  • Valade, Robert M. The Essential Black Literature Guide. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1996.[PN 841 Z999 V35 1995]
  • Consists of over 450 entries for authors covering a wide chronological and geographical range. Alphabetically arranged, the entries include: biography, literary work synopses, themes, topics, literary movements, terms, and genres. A selected bibliography is included at the end.


  • Bruccoli, Matthew J. and Judith S. Baughman, eds. Facts on File Bibliography of American Fiction : 1919-1988 New York: Facts on File, 1993. [REF PS 371 Z999 B53X 1991]
  • Signed bibliographies about important writers in the United States whose first major work appeared between 1919-1988. Entries include headnotes, a list of works, critical studies, and more.

  • Cassis, A. F. The Twentieth-Century English Novel: An Annotated Bibliography of General Criticism. New York: Garland, 1977.[RBR PR 881 Z999 C38X]
  • Spanning 1900-1972, this bibliography of over 2800 entries is divided into three sections: bibliographies, criticism, and dissertations & theses. Entries are arranged alphabetically by author and contains two indexes: novelists, and selected topics & themes.

  • Ljungquist, Kent P., ed. Facts on File Bibliography of American Fiction Through 1865 New York: Facts on File, 1993. [REF PS 371 Z999 F33X 1994]
  • Signed bibliographies about important writers in the United States whose first major work appeared before 1865. Entries include headnotes, a list of works, critical studies, and more.

  • Nagel, James and Gwen L. Nagel, ed. Facts on File Bibliography of American Fiction : 1866-1918 New York: Facts on File, 1993. [REF PS 371 Z999 F333 1993]
  • Signed bibliographies about important writers in the United States whose first major work appeared between 1866-1918. Entries include headnotes, a list of works, critical studies, and more.

  • Critical Survey Series (Gale)
    • Magill, Frank N., ed. Critical Survey of Long Fiction: English Language Series. 8 vols. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem Press, 1983.[Ref PR 821 C7 1983]

    • Magill, Frank N., ed. Critical Survey of Long Fiction: Foreign Language Series. 5 vols. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem Press, 1984. [Ref PN 3463 C75x 1984]
  • The following sets use a standard format. All but the last volume of each set contain brief critical essays that examine the works and major themes of representative authors. The last volume in each set contains overview essays and an index.


Gay & Lesbian

    • Grier, Barbara G. and Sharon Malinowski, eds. Gay & Lesbian Literature. 2 vol. Detroit: St. James, 1994.[PN 56 H57G36 1994]
    • The focus is international and includes influential writers of fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry. Entries include biographies, criticism, and bibliographies.

  • Summers, Claude J., ed. The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage. NY: H. Holt, 1995.[Ref PN 56 H57 G365 1995]
  • Provides overviews of gay and lesbian presence in a variety of literatures and historical periods; in-depth critical essays on major gay and lesbian writers in world literature; and touches more briefly on topics and figures important to gay and lesbian traditions.


    • Cline, Gloria Stark and Jeffrey A. Baker, eds. An Index to Criticism of British and American Poetry. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1973.[Ref PR 89 C5]
    • Index to collections of criticism of poems by British and American authors from the earliest period to the present. In two parts: Part one is by poet and title of poem. Part two is by critic's name. There is a separate index by title of poems.

    • Reisman, Rosemary M. ed. Critical Survey of Poetry. 4th ed. 7 vols.  Pasadena, CA: Salem Press Inc., 2011.[Ref PN 1021 C7 2011]
    • Covering 843 poets.  Covers poets from over 40 countries organized geographically.  This reference work offers each poet's biography, lists of principal poetry, achievements, other literary forms and other major works, and also includes an analysis of each poet's themes, techniques, style, and development.

  • Kuntz, Joseph M. and Nancy C. Martinez, eds. Poetry Explication: A Checklist of Interpretations Since 1925 of British and American Poems Past and Present. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall and Co., 1980.[PR 503.5 K8 1980]
  • Comprehensive index of poetry explications printed from 1925-1977. Limited to explication of poems of less than 500 lines.


    • Champion, Larry S. The Essential Shakespeare: An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern Studies. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1986. [PR 2894 Z999 C43X 1986]
    • This selective bibliography focuses on important Shakesperarean scholarship published between 1900 and 1984. It is organized by general studies, the poems and sonnets, and the individual plays grouped in the categories of history, comedies, tragedies, and romances. Contains a combined author/subject index.

    • Bergeron, David M. and Geraldo U. deSousa. Shakespeare: A Study and Research Guide. 3rd edition. Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1995. [PR 2894 B44 1995]
    • The book is organized in three sections: a general understanding of Shakespearean criticism, an examination of resources, and a guide for writing a critical paper. This selective bibliography focuses only on book-length studies. Contains an author index.

    • Sajdak, Bruce T., ed. Shakespeare Index: An Annotated Bibliography of Critical Articles on the Plays, 1959--1983. 2 vols. Milwood: Kraus, 1992.[Ref PR 2894 Z999 S25 1992]
    • An extensive collection of English-language articles with concise annotations. Contains character, scene, and subject indexes.

    • Shakespearean Criticism. Detroit: Gale, 1984--.[Oversized * PR 2965 S43 1984]
    • Provides overviews and critical interpretations of Shakespeare's plays and poems. Beginning with volume 11, eyewitness reviews, retrospective evaluations of individual productions, comparisons of major interpretations and discussions of staging issues are included (both stage and film versions are considered). An annual volume includes the most noteworthy essays published on Shakespeare during the previous year. Glossary and cumulative artist, topic and critic indexes.


Short Stories

  • Magill, Frank N., ed. Critical Survey of Short Fiction. 7 vols. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem Press, 1993.[Ref PN 3321 C7 1993]
  • The first two volumes contain essays that deal with short fiction historically and critically. Volumes 3-6 contain critical treatments of 261 writers. Volume 7 contains 390 short articles on contemporary short fiction writers, and the index to the set.

  • Short Story Criticism.[SSC] Detroit: Gale, 1988--.[Ref PN 3373 S386]
  • Presents significant passages from criticism of short story writers. Covers all nationalities and periods. Cumulative indexes to authors, nationalities, and titles in the back of each volume.

  • Walker, Warren S. comp. Twentieth-Century Short Story Explication: Interpretations, 1900-1975, of Short Fiction Since 1800. 3rd ed. Hamden, CT: Shoe String Press, 1977. [Ref PN 3373 Z999 W33x 1977]
  • Material in English as well as citations to criticism in other languages, published in books and periodicals from 1900-1986, covering short fiction published since 1800. Arranged alphabetically by author. Years of coverage in the supplements are:
    • Supplement 1. 1976-1979
    • Supplement 2. 1979-1981
    • Supplement 3. 1981-1984
    • Supplement 4. 1984-1986
    • Supplement 5. 1987-1988
    • Cumulative Index 1961-1991

  • Walker, Warren S. and Wendell M. Aycock, eds. Twentieth-Century Short Story Explication, New Series. New Series. Hamden, CT: Shoe String Press, 1993.[Ref PN 3373 Z999 W33x 1993]
  • A continuation of Twentieth-Century Short Story Explication. 3rd ed. See previous entry. Years of coverage in the volumes are:
    • Volume 1. 1989-1990
    • Volume 2. 1991-1992
    • Volume 3. 1993-1994
    • Volume 4. 1995-1996



    • Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2010. [PN 86 N67 2010]  

    An extensive and comprehensive collection of the most influential critical statements from the classical era to the present day. It is edited by scholars and teachers whose interests range from the history of poetics to postmodernism, from classical rhetoric to ecriture feminine, and from the social construction of gender to the machinery of academic superstardom

      • Groden, Michael and Martin Kreiswirth, eds. The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism. 2nd. ed.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994. [Ref PN 81 J554 J65X 2005]
      • 236 signed articles on major critics, theorists, movements, and other aspects of literary theory and criticism. Includes selective bibliographies of primary and secondary works.

      • Makaryk, Irene R., ed. and comp. Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literary Theory Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1993.[PN 81 E43 1993]
      • Signed entries arranged in three sections: schools and approaches, scholars, and terms. Generally, each entry is followed with additional readings.

    • Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory [1991--] (Oxford: Blackwell for the English Assn., 1993--[PN 80 Y43x]
    • Selective essays focusing on literature, but also includes media and cultural studies. Each volume is divided into two parts: one on critical theory, and the second on culture and commuications. Indexed by individuals and subjects.

    Women's Literature

    • Magill, Frank N., ed. Masterpieces of Women’s Literature. NY: Harpercollins, 1996.[Ref PS 147 M37 1996]
    • Contains 175 entries of which 76 are non-fiction. The scope covers a broad geographical and chronological range and focuses on women’s literature by genre, race, nationality, ethnicity, and more. Each signed essay is composed of four sections: form and content, analysis, context, and sources for further study. Includes an author and title indexes.

    • Robinson, Lillian S., ed. Modern Women Writers. 4 vol. NY: Continuum, 1996.[Ref PN 471 M62 1996]
    • This international collection presents criticism of 570 women writers from the 20th Century, and includes 19th Century writers published in the 20th Century.