Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Literary Criticism: Subject Headings

This guide will assist you in locating resources on Literary Criticism.

General Search Strategies

Searching in the OPAL catalog for your topic:  

SUBJECT AND KEYWORD searches are not the same. The catalog uses controlled vocabularies for subjects. Keywords are natural language. If you find an appropriate book using a keyword find similar books by searching the same subject headings.

A CONTROLLED VOCABULARY like Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) helps ensure the same topics are described using a formalized terminology. The terms are based on broad and narrow topics. Other controlled vocabularies include: Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), or LC subject headings for children's literature.

SEARCH TIPS  on the catalog page explain combining words for the most efficient way to find what you need. Or, look at the help link to decide how to search.

MARKING RECORDS enables you to save to a list then print or email a selected group of items.

A BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD  in the online catalog will give important information including the title, author, publisher, publication date, subject headings and the Dewey decimal call number. 

THE DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM is a classification scheme used to organize books. Other libraries may use the Library of Congress Classification System. 

Search Term Suggestions

Search Term Suggestions


  • American literature - History and criticism
  • American literature - 20th century - History and criticism
  • Literature - History and criticism - Theory, etc.
  • Literature, Modern - 20th century - History and criticism

For a Narrower search try

  • African American feminism
  • Deconstruction
  • Feminist theory and criticism
  • Feminist Press
  • Intrinsic/extrinsic approaches to literature
  • Modernist theory and Criticism
  • New Criticism
  • New Historicism
  • Postcolonial theory and criticism
  • Postmodern theory and criticism
  • Poststructuralism
  • Queer Theory
  • Reader-response theory and criticism
  • Structuralism