Resources for Deepening Literary Criticism

Deepening your understanding of literary criticism involves engaging with a wide range of resources, from foundational texts that have shaped the field to contemporary studies that address current issues and methodologies.

Here's a guide to some essential resources, including books and articles, online courses and lectures, and specialized journals and magazines that can enrich your journey through literary criticism.

Essential Books and Articles


"Literary Theory: An Introduction" by Terry Eagleton
A comprehensive and accessible overview of the major movements in literary theory.

"How to Read Literature Like a Professor" by Thomas C. Foster
A lively and entertaining introduction to the basics of literary analysis and criticism.

"The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition" by M.H. Abrams
A classic study on the development of Romantic literary theory and its impact on the critical tradition.

"Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide" by Lois Tyson
Offers an updated introduction to contemporary critical theories, from psychoanalytic criticism to postcolonial and queer theory.

"The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages" by Harold Bloom
Bloom's argument for the continued relevance and importance of the Western literary canon, engaging with debates around literary value and cultural relativism.


"What Is Literature?" by Jean-Paul Sartre
A foundational essay that explores the role of the writer and the nature of literature.

"The Death of the Author" by Roland Barthes
A seminal text that challenges traditional notions of authorial intent and the interpretation of texts.

"Orientalism" by Edward Said
An excerpt from Said's influential book that critiques Western representations of the East, laying the groundwork for postcolonial studies.

How To Get The Most Out of Literature
Literary Criticism 101

Online Courses and Lectures

Open Yale Course and edX offer a range of courses on literary theory and criticism, taught by faculty from leading universities.

Topics include introductions to literary theory, specific movements or theorists, and applications of theory to literary texts.

The Yale Open Courses series includes several lectures on literary theory and close reading practices, available for free on YouTube. Particularly notable is the "Introduction to Theory of Literature" with Professor Paul H. Fry.

The Modern Scholar offers a series of audiobook courses that can serve as an accessible entry point into various aspects of literary criticism and history.

Specialized Journals and Magazines

Critical Inquiry
A leading journal in the field that publishes articles by scholars in literature and critical theory, addressing contemporary debates and historical perspectives.
PMLA (Publications of the Modern Language Association of America) - Offers a wide range of scholarly articles on literature, culture, and criticism, reflecting current research trends.

New Literary History
Focuses on the theory and interpretation of literature, exploring the relations between literary and cultural texts and their historical contexts.
Studies in the Novel - Dedicated to the academic investigation of the novel form, including articles that apply various critical approaches to novels and their authors.

Poetics Today
Provides a forum for theoretical and methodological studies in literature and literary criticism, including discussions on narrative theory, semiotics, and cultural studies.

Engaging with these resources can provide a solid foundation in literary criticism, as well as exposure to the latest research and debates in the field. Whether you're new to literary studies or looking to deepen your existing knowledge, these books, articles, courses, and journals offer valuable insights and perspectives.

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