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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Humanities and Justice Studies: Literature Resources

Resources for students and and faculty learning or teaching in the Humanities and Justice major.

General Databases

General Databases that include scholarly articles in the field of literary study:

Academic Search Complete (EbscoHost)

Select Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals

Gale Academic OneFile

Limit your search to peer reviewed publications

To get started with your research, you may do a quick search by entering your work’s title and/or your author's name.

To find articles on a topic/theme in selected work, try entering the work’s title and the topic.

Literary Criticism Books

To find books of literary criticism on an author and his/her works, you will have to search our online catalog, CUNY+. Start by entering your author's name and adding the word criticism (You will find even more precise results if you search using subject heading assigned for criticism and interpretation of an author’s works.) For example, to find criticism related to Toni Morrison's novels, enter Toni Morrison and criticism.

If you do not find enough books in our library, expand your search to include ALL CUNY Libraries. If another CUNY library has a book you want (and it is circulating book marked as "regular loan" in the catalog), you may request it to be sent to you at John Jay. Learn more about CLICS »

Literature Databases: Best Choices

The library homepage is your gateway to a vast array of resources for the study of literature.

From the homepage follow the link to Databases by Subject and choose Literature from the list. 

The following three databases are the ones you may want to consult first as they are especially useful.

Gale Literature Resource Center

It is a great one-stop place to get started with your research. This database offers author biographies, work overviews, reviews, as well as critical essays.

To find articles on specific works, use the Works Search tab or simply enter the title of the work.

To find articles on a topic/theme in your work, add your topic in the search within the results box.

To make sure you are getting scholarly sources, remember to select Literature Criticism tab and check off the peer-reviewed box.



JSTOR is an online repository of articles from scholarly journals in many academic disciplines, including literature.


Since you’re interested in literary criticism, choose Language & Literature as your discipline.


Use the default Basic Search for simple and quick searches.


Opt for Advanced Search to conduct more in-depth searches.


Use quotation marks around phrases or longer titles of works, e.g. “The Red Badge of Courage.”


To search within an existing set of search results, click on the “Modify Search” button and enter a new search term in the additional line). The new query will be appended to the first with the AND operator. Your results will include both terms.

Project MUSE is an online collection of scholarly journals in many academic disciplines, including literature.

Although the interface looks different, you may follow the same principles that are useful when searching JSTOR.

Use the default Article Search for simple and quick searches.

Opt for Advanced Article Search to conduct more in-depth searches.

Additional Literature Databases

Black Drama: Full text of plays by playwrights from the USA, the Caribbean, and English-speaking countries in Africa. Excellent source for Harlem Renaissance writers.

Early English Books Online: EEBO contains page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473 to 1700.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online: A digital archive of 150,000 books published in the eighteenth century, covering a broad spectrum of topics like law, history, science, and art.

Essay and General Literature Index: Index to 65,000 essays in 5,300 anthologies and collections. Coverage spans a range of the humanities and social sciences.

Humanities Source: Journals in archaeology, classics, art, performing arts, philosophy, history, music, linguistics, literature, and religion. Coverage from 1984 to the present.

MLA Interanational Bibliography: Index to scholarly journal articles on language and literature. Coverage from 1926 to the present.

Twayne Authors Series: Contains over 600 frequently used Twayne Literary Masters books on the works of International and American authors.

Web of Science: Searching and Citation checking through the use of Science Citation Index (from 1997), Social Science Citation Index (from 1956), and Arts & Humanities Citation Index (from 1975).