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 a sustained and in-depth analysis of what the texts say 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.