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A Quick Guide to Shakespearean Criticism

The Libraries’ Catalog

Minerva, the University Libraries’ online catalog is an excellent resource for finding Shakespearean criticism. Following are some suggestions for using Minerva.

  • Keyword search "Title/Subject keywords"
    For example if your topic is William Shakespeare’s Othello search on:
    • Shakespeare and Othello
    • Othello and criticism
  • Exact search "Subject Begins With..." This allows you to search broader topics. For example, if your topic is focused on William Shakespeare, search on:
    • Shakespeare, William

    You can then find headings including terms like: criticism and interpretations, bibliographies, specific characters, and much more.

  • Search related works. When you display a full record, examine the links listed under "Subject". Frequently, these will take you to related works.

Electronic Resources

The MLA International Bibliography Database is the premier database for English and American literature but also focuses on Romance, Germanic, Eastern European, Asian and others. Coverage is from 1963-present.

World Shakespeare Bibliography Online Database is an expanded online version of the annual publication of the Shakespeare Quarterly Journal*. It is an annotated bibliography of the most significant critical works on Shakespeare since 1960.

*NOTE: Shakespeare Quarterly from 1950-2005 is also available through the JSTOR database. It is also available in full-text from 2001 to present from Project Muse.

Literature Resource Center provides access to biographical, bibliographical, and critical analysis from core sources including Contemporary Authors, Dictionary of Literary Biography, and Contemporary Literary Criticism. .

Print Resources

Bergeron, David M. and Geraldo U. deSousa. Shakespeare: A Study and Research Guide. 3rd Edition. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995. [ULIB Reserves PR 2894 B44 1995]

This book is organized in three sections: a general understanding of Shakespearean criticism, an examination of resources, and a guide for writing a critical paper. This selective bibliography focuses only on book-length studies. Contains an author index.

Shakespearean Criticism. 107 Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research. 1984. [ULIB Ref PR 2965 S43 1984]

Provides overviews and critical interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays and poems. Includes eyewitness reviews, retrospective evaluations of individual productions, comparisons of major interpretations and discussions of staging issues are included (both stage and film versions are considered). An annual volume includes the most noteworthy essays published on Shakespeare during the previous year. Glossary and cumulative artist, topic, and critic indexes.

Burt, Richard. Shakespeares After Shakespeare: An Encyclopedia of the Bard in Mass Media and Popular Culture. Santa Barbara, CA : Greenwood Press. Research. 2007. [ULIB Ref PR 2880 A1 S48 2007]

This encyclopedia contains hundreds of entries highlighting the presence of Shakespeare in contemporary popular culture, including the Internet, radio, film, television, and other media to which his works have been adapted. It also offers a selected, general bibliography and an extensive index. Students will find this encyclopedia to be very useful for comparing and contrasting Shakespeare's plays to their modern adaptations.


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