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ENGL 2326 - American Literature - Loges: Finding Books

Resources for course writing assignment on American authors.

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How to Find Books 1 - Basic Searches

Gray Library Catalog

Books in Our Catalog

To find books of criticism on a particular author or work:

Select "Subject" from the drop-down box next to the search box.  Because books of criticism on an author are about the author and not by the author, it is best to look at books that use the author as the subject of the work.

For example: to find criticism on "As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner:

1.  Type Faulkner, William into the search box and select "subject" from the drop-down box.

2.  A subject search will display a list of subject headings and sub-headings related to that author.

3.  NOTE: The number to the far right of each subject heading indicates how many works the library possesses that correspond to that subject heading.

4.  Check for a sub-heading matching the title of the work.  The books listed under this sub-heading will often have criticism over the work.  (For example, Faulkner, William, 1897-1962.  As I Lay Dying).

5.  Look for the subheading "criticism and interpretation."  This could be a subheading following a specific work (as in, Faulkner, William, 1897-1962. As I Lay Dying - - Criticism and Interpretation), or it may be a subheading directly following the author's name (Faulkner, William, 18977-1962 - - Criticism and Interpretation).  Books with the subject of criticism and interpretation directly following the author's name may be about any of the author's works, so you need to get the books in hand to see if they are useful to you.  Scan the table of contents and the index for your work's title.

6.  If that doesn't work you can try the sub-heading"bibliography."  (Faulkner, William, 1897-1962 - - Bibliography).  If you can find a critical bibliography, it will list articles and books of literary criticism you can try to find.

Every book in the catalog has a location and call number.   Use these to find the book in the library.

For e-books, use the URL link to access the book.

How to Read Call Numbers

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Essay in a Collection

Your instructor may tell you to use an essay in a collection (also called a selection from an anthology) as a source. This is an essay by one critic collected in a book with other essays by other critics.

Collections and anthologies are listed in the library’s catalog like other books. The key to identifying them is the Details button. Click the Details button, then click the Catalog Record tab, then find the Title field.

After the title, a name is listed. If this person is listed as an editor, the book is a collection.

A scholar named Harold Bloom has edited many collections of criticism. Do a keyword search in the library’s catalog for your author’s last name plus the words and Bloom (for example, "faulkner and bloom"). You’ll probably find a collection on your author edited by Harold Bloom.

You can also find essays in the MLA International Bibliography (see Finding Articles). Essays are listed as book articles.