Chemeketa Community College

Finding Literary Criticism for ENG104 (Introduction To Fiction)

There are many reference books for the study of English literature. A few useful ones are listed here; other, similar books will be located near these on the reference shelves.

Reference works of literary criticism:

Electronic Reference Databases

Literature Resource Center
Includes biographies on more than 130,000 authors; more than 7,000 overviews of frequently studied works, Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature; and more. (Also includes literary criticism and reviews. See under Articles in magazines, journals, and newspapers, below).
Oxford Reference Online Premium
Includes ready-reference books on literature and the performing arts, as well as a broad variety of other subjects.


These books talk about the theme, style, structure, and purpose of literary works. An excellent source to begin with is Magill Masterplots, including:

R 809 M39 1996Masterplots. Rev. 2nd ed.
R 809.30097 M39 2000Masterplots II: American Fiction Series, Revised edition
R 809.3 M39Masterplots II: Short Story Series

Each Masterplots entry is two or three pages long. It gives a summary of the story, with information on the type of plot, time of the action, locale, date of publication, and principal characters. A short critical section following the plot summary talks about the theme, interpretation, style, and technique of the story. There are many different series of Masterplots.

A complete set of all Masterplots is available on CD at the Reference Desk. You can search by title or author and find all the Masterplots entries on that work in full text.

The Critical Survey of Short Fiction is arranged by authors' names and contains criticism of an author's work in general instead of a particular story:

R 809.31 C86Critical Survey of Short Fiction

There are many books of literary criticism published by Gale. Many are included in Literature Resource Center. An index to these and other Gale publications is also available in Literature Resource Center.

Reference works of biography:

R 803 D56Dictionary of Literary Biography (and its supplementary series)

Although "biographical" in scope, there is substantial analysis of the authors' works. There are over 100 volumes in this series; choose the highest-numbered volume and use its cumulative index (in the back of the book) to find out which volume you need. Some authors are covered in more than one volume; if an author worked in more than one genre, there may be an entry in a volume of poets, an entry in a volume of short story writers, etc. Choose the volume most nearly pertinent to your interest in the author.

R 810.9 Am3American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies
R 809.894 Eu7European Writers: The Twentieth Century

Other Books

Finding Biographical Information About Authors (
Tells how to look for books about authors in the library catalog and in periodical indexes.

Articles in Magazines, Journals and Newspapers

Literature Resource Center
Includes more than 650,000 full-text articles, critical essays and reviews from over 300 scholarly journals and literary magazines. The default search is by author, or you can click "Title" to search for a particular work. After searching, click the "Literary Criticism" tab. There is a sub-tab for Articles. See picture below.

Picture of Literature Resource Center screen

To access Literature Reference Center, go to If using databases from off campus, you will need your My Chemeketa user name and password.

Academic OneFile
Available through Gale, Academic OneFile includes full text for more than thousands of scholarly periodicals covering a wide variety of topics including literature. To access it, go to If using databases from off campus, you will need your My Chemeketa user name and password.

You can search Academic OneFile by keywords or subjects. To do a subject search for information in the database, start Academic Onefile and click on the Subject Guide Search link in the toolbar banner.

picture of Subject search screen

  1. Type an author's name, last name first, in the space marked "Find Subject."
  2. Then click the Go button.
  3. Click on the name in the resulting list to see the articles, or click the plus sign (+) to see more specific aspects of the subject, such as "Criticism & interpretation."

picture of Refine Results sidebar

When you click a subject, a list of articles will appear. If you wish, you can use the "Refine Results" sidebar to limit your search to full electronic text. An option is also available to add a word to your search or to limit results to peer-reviewed (i.e., scholarly) journals.

The newest articles will be at the beginning of a list. To see more information about an article, click on the highlighted title. Many articles have links to full text, where you can read or print the article online. If an article has full text, you can also e-mail it to yourself. More information on printing, saving, and e-mailing articles is at the Gale periodicals instructions page.

R 820.9 C14The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English
The Forest of Rhetoric: Silva rhetoricae -
A dictionary of figures of speech.
Glossary of the Humanities -
Click on a letter of the alphabet to see terms.
A clickable list of literary terms.
U Vic Writers' Guide -
Click "index" for an alphabetical list of terms, or browse by categories
Words of Art -
Okonagan University site with glossary of critical terms.

Statistical Data

Center for Public Affairs Research, University of Nebraska
An official U.S. Census State Data Center.
Economic Census (2007)
Click Geographies to find state-level figures.
Google Images
Use it to search for maps.
Historical Map Archive, University of Alabama
Images of thousands of historical maps.
Historical Census Browser
Agricultural, economic, and population data from the U.S. Census from 1790 to 1960.
Nebraska Library Commission. Where can I find statistics about Nebraska cities and towns?
A variety of statistical resources. Try "Nebraska Databook" for current statistics on many subjects.
USDA 2002 Census of Agriculture
Choose "State level by table."
Chemeketa Virtual Library
Web sites specially picked by library staff to be useful for Chemeketa students. Try Statistics, Geography and Maps, and Writing (for MLA guidance).

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