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CMP104 Introduction to Literature - Soferr: Secondary Sources

Appropriate sources

Outside sources will consist primarily of book sources and journal articles.

  • Literature essays from books and reference titles that contain analysis of a work will be useful sources.
  • Scholarly articles from literature journals will also be valuable sources for your research. 
    • TIP! Mine bibliographies (listing of source references) of great articles.  This is a quick way to add additional revelant, related, authoritative sources to your paper.  

What is Literary Criticism?

This assignment asks you to look for a secondary source that is critiquing a primary source - the novel or the individual work (in this case play) of the author / playwright you are studying.

The scholarly language of the discipline commonly uses five terms to identify literary criticism: critique, criticism, interpretation, analysis and study.

In your research criticism is likely to be centered around these topics:

Criticism related to a narrative device like symbolism or setting


Critical interpretations exploring a specific theme like gender roles or sexuality


Study on imagery in the play like the locked letter box


Character analysis of a specific figure like Nora.

Literary criticism is NOT a review of the play ("theatre review"), NOT an interview with the author / playwright, NOT a plot summary, and NOT biographical information.

Where to Begin?

Look up your main concepts in general encyclopedias and subject-specific reference sources. Read articles in these reference materials to set the context for your research. Note important key terms or phrases. Note any relevant items in the bibliographies at the end of these encyclopedia articles. Additional background information may be provided in your lecture notes, textbooks and items on reserve in the library.

credo reference
Our Credo Reference database has just what you need to get you started.

Literature Research Databases

Search these for: articles and books that will contain analysis or interpretation of key works in literature

Artemis Literary Sources


Artemis Literary Sources contains literary criticism in the form of scholarly journal articles from literature journals, books with literary essays, and also reference sources that contain brief analysis.

Note: If asked for a single password when signing in off campus, enter in the barcode number on your student ID.

Citations: Click on  then export to EasyBib.

Literary Reference Center

Literary Reference Center contains literary criticism in the form of scholarly journal articles from literature journals, books with literary essays, and also reference sources that contain brief analysis.

Citations: Click on to send your citations to EasyBib.

Literature Resource Center

Contains reference books, literary journals and magazines. Use if you want outside critique on a work, a work overview (some summary and analysis), or biographical information on an author.

Citations: Click on  then export to EasyBib.


JSTOR contains literary criticism in the form of scholarly articles from literature journals.

Citations: Copy and paste the journal article title from JSTOR to the Journal tab in EasyBib and click the "Cite This" button. Choose the JSTOR tab from the results list. Select the appropriate citation and click "Cite This" button. Click "Generate Citation" button at the bottom of the template.

Harold Bloom's Ebook Literary Criticism Series

Bloom's Literary Criticisms contains thousands of critical articles published by noted scholars under the Bloom's Literary Criticism series.

Citations: Click "Citation Information" to the right of the article. Click highlight, and then using the right click , you can copy and paste the citation into your choice 

Search the NSCC Libraries Collections

Search this for: book sources that contain literary essays, reference sources that contain brief analysis 

TIP: search by title of work or author and add the term criticism / interpretation / analysis / study



* To have a book transferred from one campus library to the other, contact a library staff member for assistance.

 If you locate a book outside of the NSCC Libraries that is available to borrow, click on the  button and follow the online instructions to request the material. Material may take up to a week to arrive.