This page contains general library information as well as information on literary criticism, and also offers suggestions on finding/writing book reviews and literature reviews.
According to the entry for Criticism in the Handbook to Lterature, 10th edition (Ref PN41.H355 2006), criticism is defined as "[t]he analysis, study, and evaluation of individual works of art, as well as the formulation of general principles for the examination of such works." This and a companion entry, Criticism, Types of, are good points of departure for further, in-depth study of literary criticism.
The Handbook to Literature also provides brief defining/descriptive entries for the better known approaches to literary criticism, such as feminist criticism, historical criticism, New Criticism, etc.
What is a case study?
A case study is a book that examines a subject from a variety of approaches or perspectives.
A book that is a case study may not reveal this in its title, as the following literary case studies owned by Houston Cole Library illustrate.
Literary Criticism falls under the broader rubric of General Literature (LC class PN) and has a parallel alphabet (for both reference and circulating books) whose boundaries are approximately PN81 - PN100. These books are on Houston Cole Library's sixth floor, and if one is perusing the reference section there it would be wise to browse back as far as PN41 in order to harvest the handbooks to literature.
A detailed outline of the class, taken from SuperLCCS: Gale's Library of Congress Classification Schedules, is accessible via the link below. Notice the "money zone" that begins with PN98. Many items in the list are critical approaches and could be used to fill database or internet search boxes when seeking literary criticism of a particular kind.
To locate literary criticism written from a particular critical approach:
Literary criticism is such an ever-evolving field that traditional analog sources (i.e., print) have a hard time remaining current. New approaches (i.e., thing studies) are always being devised. To keep up, a good strategy is to employ a single-box Google Search and in the box type "literary criticism types (list)" (or a variant meaning the same thing), and from the results list choose the links you like. There will be omissions in individual websites and overlap among them, but often a webpage will offer something unique from its companion sites.
1. In the top box (all) place the author's name (as subject) and an identifier for the critical approach sought (e.g., femini? marx? psychol?). These are words essential to the success of the search. Use the ? as your truncation symbol.
2. In the second box (exact phrase) place essential phrases, such as the title of the work or identifier phrases for criticism (e.g., new criticism, reader-response). The critical approach may need to be nested between parentheses.
3. In the third box (at least) type the words analysis criticism interpretation. This is to harvest secondary sources about the work, not copies of the work itself (the primary source).
4. In the fourth box (without) type any words whose presence might sabotage the search.
From your results list look for your search terms in boldface type. Then, for the items you like, look for the word Preview hyperlink. Peruse the Preview; if you like what you see, click on Get book in Print/Find in a Library under the three stacked dots in the top pane. This will redirect you to WorldCat (you want the basic WorldCat, not the JSU-centric one) If Houston Cole Library has the book, it will be at the top of the results list, and the entire book is available. If not, then you still have the Preview.
For books the library does not have, check the WorldCat record for subject headings. Open a JaxCat window for Subject search, copy/paste a heading from WorldCat and see what books on the same subject Houston Cole Library does own.
What is a book review?
At its simplest, a book review is a summary description of a book.
How to write a Book Review (non-academic)
How to Write a Book Review (academic)
Locating Book Reviews in Electronic Databases (EBSCOhost)
Put database in Advanced Search mode
NOTE: This is the basic rubric; more complex searches can be performed that mix and match the top box terms, but these searches may require either additional search boxes or the use of nesting in combination with manually entered Boolean operators. Searching non-EBSCO databases may require adjustments depending upon what the interface of that database permits.
NOTE: See also this LibGuide by Ms. Karlie Johnson: How to Conduct a Literature Review
What is a literature review?
How to write a literature review
From the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: a page that breaks down the process of writing a literature review into its nuts-and-bolts components.
From Virginia Commonwealth University: a simple introduction to writing literature reviews, with useful hyperlinks to walk one through the process.