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Research Guides

English Language & Literature

Literary Criticism or Book Review?

Although many book reviews are written by scholars, book reviews are generally not considered scholarly sources. This is because they are often brief discussions or overviews of a work and not in-depth analysis. 

  • Literary criticism involves in depth analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of literary work(s). Will include extensive bibliography and engagement with other secondary and scholarly sources.  
  • A book review can provide important information about a book’s style, plot, and quality and about the author’s credentials. A review will also reflect contemporary critical opinion of a book and will often give comparisons to related titles. Most book reviews will not include the more in-depth analysis found in literary criticism.

Finding Literary Criticism (scholarly articles)

Finding Book Reviews

Books are generally reviewed near the date of publication or within the first two years after publication. To locate a book review, you'll need to know the author and title of the book, and sometimes the year of publication.

Keep in mind that the database MLA Bibliography does not include book reviews. Use these databases instead: