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ENGL 382: Irish Literary Revival

Finding Criticism

For your mid-semester research assignment in this class, you'll need to identify, read, analyze, and respond to one scholarly (peer-reviewed) article or book chapter that demonstrates a critical approach to the one or more of the works you have read for the course.

Not sure where to start? This page offers some broad strategies that you can try:

  • Search a subject database, such as the MLA International Bibliography or Literature Criticism Online
  • Search Primo for print and ebooks related to the primary text or author
  • Browse key journals for scholarship related to Irish literature

Featured Journals

If you're not sure yet what you're interested in, you might want to just browse through scholarly journals to see what catches your eye. A few options are listed below:

Collins Library subscribes to two major scholarly journals in the field of Joyce Studies, listed below:

Search a Subject Database

Like most other disciplines, English has several subject-specific databases. The MLA International Bibliography and Gale Literature Criticism are two examples. Subject databases index scholarly materials (books, chapters in books, scholarly articles, dissertations) that will be of interest to researchers within that discipline. MLAIB is the key database for literature, linguistics, and related areas.

For this assignment, you'll want to limit your results to just articles or books. Click on the "check for full text" link to see if Collins Library has the journal or you need to order it through interlibrary loan.

E-Journal Collections

These e-journal collections provide access to many journals in the humanities, but they are more limited in coverage compared to subject databases.  In most cases, it's better to search subject databases to identify articles, and then search the journal title in Primo to link to the materials in these e-journal collections.

Featured Books

Search Primo

Search Collins+Summit+Articles

Using Library of Congress Subject Headings

Collins Library uses Library of Congress Subject Headings to describe the content of books. If you are researching an author about whom much has been written, you can use Library of Congress Subject subheadings to help pinpoint your search.

You only need to be an observant user of Primo -- not an expert in the use of subject headings -- to make them work for you. Availing yourself of frequently used subject headings will help you locate secondary sources easily. The most frequently used sub-heading for interpretive criticism is "criticism and interpretation". If you want to expand your search to include historical, political, and other forms of analysis, add (criticism OR history) to your search instead.

Here are several examples of the various ways you can use LCSH to help pinpoint what you need:

Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939

Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939 -- Criticism and interpretation

Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932

Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932 -- Criticism and interpretation

Joyce, James, 1882-1941

Joyce, James, 1882-1941 -- Criticism and interpretation

Joyce, James, 1882-1941. Ulysses


Modernism (Literature) -- Ireland

Ireland -- In literature

Dublin (Ireland) -- In literature

Irish literature -- 20th century

Irish literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism

English drama -- Irish authors -- History and criticism

Reading Criticism

Research does not exist in a vacuum nor are academic books and journal articles isolated, self-contained packages of information. Rather, every academic text represents one intersection in a network of ideas and debates that scholars have been tracing through their writing, sometimes over long periods of time. Think of each academic text (including the one you are writing!) as one contribution to a scholarly conversation. 

Texts that interpret literary works are usually persuasive texts. Literary critics may conduct a close reading of a work, critique a literary work from the stance of a particular literary theory, or debate the soundness of other critics' interpretations. 

During the preview phase, you'll want to concentrate on these key elements:

  • Abstract (if available)
  • First paragraph (sometimes the second paragraph, too):  What is the writer’s central claim? What research question is the author asking?
  • Evidence:  What kind of evidence does the writer use to support their claim? Are there quotations from the text(s)? From other critics/scholars? From theorists?
  • Scholarly conversation:  What are the other scholarly works (secondary sources) the author uses? Does the author acknowledge counter-arguments? How does this interpretation connect to your own close reading of the text?
  • Conclusion (typically the last paragraph):  How does the author tie the evidence together to answer the research question? What is the significance of this research?

Once you've selected the article, you can actively read for content, argument, analysis and evaluation. 

Tip: Read the article more than once!  It may help to print out a copy so that you can make notes.

Tipasa: Interlibrary Loan

If your article is not available at Collins Library, you've got another option for getting it. Use Tipasa, our interlibrary loan service.

Tipasa is linked to your library account so you'll need to log in to use it.

Once you are logged in, either go directly to Tipasa and manually enter the information, or, if you're using a database, look for a shortcut link to automatically fill out the form:

Interlibrary Loan Link

Allow at least a week for the article to come. If your article is delivered in electronic format, you'll receive an email with a link to follow as soon as it's arrived.