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Macdonald DeWitt Library at SUNY Ulster

American Literature: Get Started

ENG 204

Books and Ebooks

Find books and ebooks about an author, work or theme. The library has a great collection of print resources. The information you need cannot all be found online.


Databases for Literary Analysis

Reference Ebooks

Use the following reference works to develop a historical and cultural context for a particular work of literature or theme. You can search the full text of each title from its landing page.

Summary v. Critique

Critical analysis of a work of literature is not the same as a summary. A summary gives an overview of the setting, plot, characters and major themes. Critical analysis is the author's interpretation of how those elements work together toward creating meaning in the literary work. 

You will find both summaries and critiques in the library's literature databases. Use the summaries to help you get your thoughts in order. However, you should not be citing summaries in a research paper. 

When writing your own analysis, imagine you are writing for someone who has already read the work of literature. You do not need to retell major plot points. Instead, you are explaining how different pieces work together to support your thesis or interpretation. 

Need more writing help? 

The Literacy Lab offers writing tutoring for all subjects on a drop-in basis, both in person and virtually (by request). Our professional and peer tutors are available to assist students with a variety of writing assignments, including essays, research, lab reports, and more. Space and computers are also available for independent work. We welcome you to join us!

Location: Vanderlyn 208 & 210

Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00am-3:00pm

Stop by or email for more information.