Finding Examples of Close Reading
You can see examples of literary scholars reading texts very carefully and writing very short interpretations of those texts.
- Go to the journal named The Explicator
- Click "Search within this publication" (up above the list of available years)
- Enter the work's title or author's name (or really any other keyword you want) in the second box down
Following up on a theme
One great way to build context for your reading is to see what other scholars have said about the themes and characters in your book. Scholars don't always agree with each other, so it's interesting to skim more than one article. Look for how that scholar interprets the work, and how that scholar talks about interpretations done by other scholars.
There are many places to search for good scholarly discussion about literature. We're just going to look at one of these places.
- Open JSTOR
- Click "Advanced Search" (just under the main search box)
- In the "Narrow by" area, select "Article"
- In the "Narrow by Discipline and/or Publication Title" area select "Language and Literatue"
- Enter search terms into the search box.
These may be character names, or they may be words that scholars would likely use to describe the theme you're looking for. Remember that you can combine similar terms using uppercase "OR" between each term, so agency OR achievement OR empowerment on one line and "The Sound and the Fury" (in quotation marks) on the next line would bring back articles that talked about how Faulkner's work depicts personal striving.
Following up on a citation
One of the best ways to build context for what you're reading is to follow the citations left for you by literary scholars. If you read an interesting line and find that the author of your article has included a citation after that line, follow that citation to it's book or article. Most likely that book or article will also be interesting as you build context around the literary work you're studying.
Use the boxes below to help you see if we have the book or the journal article to which your citation refers.
Do We Have That Article?
Article citations generally have an author's name, an article title (in quotation marks), a journal title (in italics), volume and issue numbers, a year of publication, and page numbers.
- Use the Journals, Magazines, & Newspapers List below to see if we have access to the Journal (the name in italics) you need, and that we have access to the year you need.
- If we don't, order the article (using the "request a photocopy" form) via Interlibrary Loan and we'll get it to you from another library as quickly as possible (generally a few days to a week).
Do We Have That Book?
Book citations generally have an author's name, a book title (in italics), and a place and year of publication. Citations to chapters in books will include all of these things with the addition of a chapter title (before the book title, and in quotations marks) and an editor's name (after the book title). In both cases:
- Look up the book title to see if we have what you're looking for.
- If we don't you can order the book via Interlibrary Loan and we'll get it to you from another library as quickly as possible (generally about a week).