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CMP-203: Literature and Composition (Harris, Spring 2020)

The Subject Heading "Criticism"



Here are entered works on the principles of criticism in general and of literary criticism in particular.

Criticism in a specific field is entered under the appropriate heading, e.g. Art criticism; English literature--History and criticism; English poetry--History and criticism; Literature--History and criticism; Music--History and criticism.


Search Also Under:

subdivision History and criticism under literary, music, film, television program, and video recording form headings, e.g. English literature--History and criticism; Chamber music--History and criticism; Erotic films--History and criticism; also subdivision Criticism and interpretation under names of persons active in the fine arts, literature, music, and performing arts; and subdivision Criticism, interpretation, etc. under names of sacred books or their parts, e.g. Bible--Criticism, interpretation, etc.


See the examples below.


Library of Congress Subject Heading Terminology and Usage

  • The subject term “English” means “British.”  So, "English literature" means the literature of England (Britain), not literature written in English.  Compare this to "American Literature," "Irish literature," "Scottish Literature," "French literature," etc. Follow this pattern for other specifc literary genres, i.e., fiction, poetry, short stories.


English poetry.

but  War poetry, English.


  • The subdivision “History and criticism” means that the book offers literary criticism, history, and analysis on that topic. When you are browsing subject headings, look for your lead term subdivided by "History and criticism" for the broadest selection of criticism on your topic.


Literature, Modern--20th century--History and criticism.

Lesbians' writings, American--History and criticism.

  • The subdivision "Criticism and interpretation" means that the book offers criticism and analysis of an author's works or endeavors, without a primary focus on biographical details.


Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886--Criticism and interpretation.

  • Critical analysis can also be offered under the author's name as subject without any subdivisions, but usually the unsubdivided author heading contains works more biographical or general in nature.  Compare the results of the --Criticism and interpreation heading above to the following:

 Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886.

If the work is primarily a biography, an additional heading will tell you so.  The subject will be the class of persons to which the author belongs, subdivided by --Biography.  For example, Emily Dickinson's most specific class is "Poets, American--19th Century":

Poets, American--19th century--Biography.

If the work has other topics, the name heading will be paired with a topical heading, such as:

Women and literature--United States--History--19th century.


Daughters in literature.