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Short Stories and Criticism


On the Web

Many short stories, particularly those published before 1923 and therefore in the public domain (not copyrighted), are accessible on the web. Use your favorite search engine to look for titles, phrases, or authors.

Here are a few sites that are especially recommended:

In the Library

Try keyword searching in the HSU Library Catalog to find your story. Search for the title in quotation marks, but leave off the initial article (a, an, or the in any language):

"celebrated jumping frog of calaveras county"
"good man is hard to find"
"autopista del sur"

If the title isn't very distinctive, add the author's name to your search:

porter "garden party"

Search in the HSU Library Catalog for collections of stories by the author of the one you are looking for. "Complete" collections will have your story in them; otherwise, if there is no table of contents in the catalog record or the Google books link, check the volume to see if your story is there.

Check indexes to short stories, in the Reference collection, to find anthologies that have a copy of your story. They list stories by author, title, and sometimes by subject, indicating the anthologies or periodical issues where each story appears. (Most index volumes cover a specific time period, so it helps to know the date of your story.) When you have found the name of a collection or periodical containing your story, check the HSU Library Catalog to see if we have it. Or, look in the index volume for the list of publications indexed; we often note call numbers there.

Some of the short story indexes in our Reference collection are listed below. Use Advanced Search in the HSU Library Catalog, and search by subject for stories indexes NOT criticism for find more.


In the Library

Do a keyword search for the kind of stories you want to find, for example:

"ghost stories"
"mystery stories"
"short stories" indians
"short stories" women
"short stories" India
"short stories" "african american"
"short stories" spanish women

Browse in the main collection, or search by call number in the HSU Library Catalog. Here are some possibilities:

PN 6014-6120 General & misc. collections
PR 1109-1150 English literature collections
PS 508 A8 Asian-American authors
PS 508 I5 Indian (Native American) authors
PS 508 M4 Mexican-American authors
PS 508 N3 African-American authors
PS 508 W7 American women authors

Use Advanced Search in the HSU Library Catalog, and search for short stories as a phrase NOT criticism in Subject to find a long list of short story anthologies in the Library. You may add other subject terms to your search for language, country, or group, to get a shorter list. You may sort the list to show the newest items first.


In the Library

Electronic Subscription Sources - Found on the library homepage under Articles and Databases, these sources are available to anyone in the library or on campus, and from off campus locations to Humboldt State University faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students only.

Print Sources

The Reference Collection includes guides to short story criticism. Here are a few:

For books of short story criticism, use the HSU Library Catalog. Keyword searching is usually best. You can search for general criticism, criticism of individual authors, or individual stories. When you start with keyword searching, remember to check the Subject(s) in the records you find for other terms or forms of the words you've used. Using these will often find more items than your keyword search did.

Books about an author often include analysis of major works. To find books in our general collection, try a keyword search in the HSU Library Catalog, using the author's name and the words criticism and interpretation, for example:

"katherine anne porter" criticism interpretation

If this fails, try, for example:

"sherman alexie" criticism

Though specific search protocols may vary, these techniques will find books in the catalogs of other libraries, too. You can request such books on interlibrary loan, if our library doesn't have what you need.