When selecting a research topic for a short story, poem, or play, choose an author whose work you enjoyed or one that your instructor suggests for you.
For help choosing an author, the reference sets listed below provide background reading on prominent authors and short summaries of their most well-known literary works. These sets are in the Reference area on 2nd floor and in the database Literary Reference Center. Ask for help locating these books if needed. Look up authors by their last names, alphabetically within each print set or type an author's name into the database with "critical survey" to find these articles. Log into the database from home with your myLSCO userID/password.
Search using an author's last name to find articles in the Critical Survey series. For example type:
faulkner and critical survey (from results, select the article that has the type of work you need, such as short fiction, long fiction, poetry or drama)
After selecting an author and reading their article in Critical Survey, choose a work by reading overview articles from one of the Masterplots II reference sets. The Masterplots II: Short Story Series gives plot summaries, themes and meanings, style and technique elements for a large number of short stories. The other two series provide similar overviews for poetry and plays. Look up each literary work by its title, alphabetically within each Masterplots II set. Ignore words "a," "an," or "the" at the start of a title when looking up a title or when searching by title in the database.
Search using the work title to find the Masterplots II series. For example type:
rose for emily and masterplots
This reading gives you ideas about what your paper might focus on for specific works and you can make a final selection of a work or works. You can count these articles as two of your sources for a research paper or bibliography. They are considered to be work overviews, not critical essays, but a work included in these books is likely have many critical essays in other sources. This initial background reading should help you to understand your author, their critical reception, their major literary works, and something about the literary movement, period or style in which they worked.
While looking at an article in this database, look to the right column under "Tools." Click icons to print, email, download or cite the article. Cite and Print tools allow you to select MLA to format your citation.
Most instructors require a shorter work as discussed in the box above, but if you need to find information about a novel, the following series provide similar articles on long fiction. They are also included in the database Literary Reference Center.
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