Studying literary criticism can be a great way to learn more about
an author or delve deeper into a work. Literary
criticism describes, analyzes or interprets a literary work, usually in essay form.
If you're just curious to learn more about an author or work, online resources
may suffice. But if you're working on an academic paper, you'll probably need to go further. The Web can get you started, but your local school or library
will probably be your best resource.
offers biographies and relevant links on authors in five categories:
fiction, poetry, drama, essays and critical theory.
Other sources for literary criticism include magazines and periodicals.
The Atlantic Monthly provides
critical reviews of influential books. Their site offers reviews dating
back to the 19th century. Use their
search engine to look for criticism on the work
or author you are studying.
Part of Project MUSE, a database
of scholarly journals online, The Johns Hopkins
Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism
can only be accessed if you are associated with an academic institution
that subscribes. Check with your college or university to see
if you can access the guide.
The Usual Suspect
Often hailed as the greatest playwright of all time, William Shakespeare is
one of the most studied literary figures. The comprehensive
Shakespeare Online offers
plot synopses, a collection of essays about Shakespeare's works and a biography.
The Shakespeare Resource Center
also provides synopses and a list of relevant resources, including
Shakespeare and His Critics, a
work in progress offering literary criticism on the Bard. For the
serious student, The
Folger Shakespeare Library
is the primary research library for Shakespeare scholarship.
To explore additional Shakespearean sites, check out Web English Teacher's collection which includes a number of student-created Webquest sites as well as general Shakespeare reference.
When you get tired of studying, check out these Shakespeare
sites for fun: