The Dictionary of Shakespeare defines "literary criticism" as:
"Literary criticism tries to make an objective, reasoned assessment of a piece of writing or drama; literary theory is concerned with what lies behind this judgment. Literary theory includes such questions as 'what is the use of literature?' 'Does it describe the world around us?' 'How does it affect the reader or audience, or it is perhaps only written to entertain us?' Through the centuries, critics have wrestled with such questions."
This type of academic literary criticism tries to answer the question "Why does this work of literature matter?" instead of "Is this work of literature good or not?" as a book review might do. To complete this type of study, literary criticism may look at themes in the literature, use of language or structure, the historical setting of the work or the author's time, and/or use another area of study to look at meaning within the work (such as "feminist criticism" or "postcolonial criticism.")
"Literary criticism and theory." Dictionary of Shakespeare, Peter Collin Publishing. London: Peter Collin Publishing, 2000. Credo Reference. Web. 23 April 2013.
In order to locate literary criticism at UCC you may find information related to your chosen author, short story, poem, or novel in multiple resources. Literary criticism at the UCC Library can be located:
Umpqua Community College Library, 1140 Umpqua College Rd., Roseburg, OR 97470, 541-440-4640
Except where otherwise noted, content in these research guides is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.