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Locating Criticism of Individual Poems


Emma Lazarus Emma Lazarus.
Photographic print.
[between 1878 and 1900]

Prints and Photographs Online Catalog.
Library of Congress.


Subscription databases can be online counterparts to print products, or resources exclusive to the online environment. If a resource is available both in print and online, it is usually preferable to search the online version, which will offer enhanced search options, quicker retrieval, and the possibility of accessing documents' full text. The subscription databases below all can be used to locate explications of individual poems. You must be on-site at the Library in order to use its subscriptions to ABELL, Humanities Full Text, Literature Resource Center, and MLAIB. If you cannot visit the Library, speak with a reference librarian at your academic, school, or public library to learn which databases you can access from it.


Available at the Library of Congress

Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature [Also available in print]

From home page: ABELL "aims to list annually all scholarly articles, books and reviews concerning English language and literature and related topics published anywhere in the world, and in any language. (Education and pedagogical subjects, and the medical application of linguistics, are excluded.)" ABELL is available online as a individual databases and is also offered as part of the Literature Online database.

Humanities Full Text [Also available in print as Humanities Index]

Provides abstracts and indexing for humanities journals back to 1984, and the full text of selected articles back to 1985. Versions of the database that do no include full text are available as Humanities Abstracts and Humanities Index. Also see Humanities Index Retrospective: 1907-1984.

Literature Resource Center.

Includes more than 415,000 full-text journal articles from more than 250 literary journals featuring approximately 4,400 entries; nearly 44,000 critical essays; close to 5,000 work overviews, plot summaries and explications; and nearly 6,000 links to vetted Web sites.

MLA International Bibliography. [Also available in print]

A detailed bibliography of journal articles, books, and dissertations. Online database coverage extends back to 1963, and includes over 1.7 million citations from more than 4,400 journals and series, and 1,000 book publishers. MLAIB contains many citations to poetry criticism and the full text of selected articles. If your local library has access to this database, use it to find poetry criticism not listed in older print indexes. Read more about MLAIB here.

Not Available at the Library of Congress

LION: Literature Online.

LION's criticism and reference section can be used to locate criticism on many poems. LION provides access to the online version of ABELL, 168 full-text literature journals, biographies, reference works, student guides, bibliographies, and Web sites. Further information can be found here.

Other Databases

To locate additional databases, consult volume one of the current edition of Gale Directory of Databases. The subject index includes an entry for Literature under which you can find databases which include poetry criticism.


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  March 16, 2022
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