Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ENGL 201: The Nature of Literary Study

What is Literary Critisism?

What is literary criticism?

Literary criticism is analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of authors and their works of literature, which can include novels, short stories, essays, plays and poetry. 

Such critical analysis is often written by literary critics and is found in essays, articles and books. Literary "criticism" is not necessarily negative; "criticism" means a thoughtful critique of an author's work or an author's style in order to better understand the meaning, symbolism or influences of a particular piece or a body of literature. 

Some criticism, such as book reviews, may be created for the general public and its primary purpose goal is recommending - or not recommending - books. 

Scholarly criticism engages in sustained and in-depth analysis of what the texts says and how it says it, and is written for an academic audience.

You will also find introductory literary analysis that is written for a student audience. 

  • Use introductory analysis and quality reviews to learn about historical and biographical contexts, key themes, and the general reception a work or author has received.
  • Turn to scholarly analysis for a more sophisticated and sustained discussion of literature and ideas.

Databases

Class assignment

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact the library at libref@pnw.edu.