Literary Genre, Theory and Criticism


In the context of analyzing literature, these are the different literary genres:

  • Drama
  • Fiction
  • Non-Fiction
  • Poetry
    • Epic Poetry
    • Lyric Poetry
  • Prose

Browsing for a Genre

Consult the following electronic reference resources for ideas:

Searching for a Genre:
       Construct a key phrase such as “American fiction” and try it in Omni. You will obtain results  about fiction in general and about specific fiction with this particular topic.

Tip: Click the hyper-linked subject headings in Omni to find additional titles:



This guide lists resources and works, as well as reference materials containing background analysis about the 20th Century period. This era is also called Modernism.  For information about other literary periods, see Literary Periods and History Timeline.

Below is a selection of books in the library:

To find other books about literary Modernism, use Subject heading: Modernism (Literature)

Tip: Add the word “sources” to a keyword search to find information on the event, author or period:
                             For example: Philip Roth sources OR James Joyce sources

A few other key phrases to mention:
            “History and criticism” – use to locate a type of literature, author, or place
                             For example: American literature - African-American authors - History and criticism

             “in literature” – Result list finds books about the topic or place and its treatment in literature
                             For example: Women in literature

             “intellectual life” – Finds information about the culture in a particular place and time or among people:
                             For example: Harlem Renaissance intellectual life

             “literary history” - Use to search about a topic or place
                              For example:  Caribbean literary history

Content last reviewed: January 26, 2021