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.
- The Afro-American Short Story: a comprehensive, annotated index with selected commentaries (ref PS 153 N5 Y35)
- Cuento Mexicano Index (ref PQ 7197 H64)
- Index to Best American short stories and O. Henry prize stories (ref PS374.S5 W457)
- Short Story Index (ref PN 3353 C662 & suppl.)
COLLECTIONS OF STORIES
In the Library
Do a keyword search for the kind of stories you want to find, for example:
"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.
SHORT STORY CRITICISM
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.
- Academic Search Elite (1984 to the present) - This database covers all subjects and includes popular as well as scholarly material. You can limit your search to peer reviewed journals only.
- Gale Literary Databases - This site includes entries from Contemporary Authors (brief biography & criticism and lists of works for authors active since 1940), the Dictionary of Literary Biography (essays by scholars on authors and their works), and Contemporary Literary Criticism (excerpts of criticism from popular and scholarly sources with citations to the full work). You can search any or all of these at once. Selected volumes of the Dictionary of Literary Biography are in the Reference collection at ref PN 451 D53.
- OmniFile Full Text Mega (1984 to the present) - This database covers all subjects and includes popular as well as scholarly material. You can limit your search to peer reviewed journals only. Humanities Index, at Table 2, is the print equivalent of this database for literary criticism. It goes back to 1974.
- MLA Bibliography (1926 to the present) - The print version, in the index and abstract section, abstr PB 6 M62, covers 1969-1996. Before that, it was published in June issues of the journal PMLA, which our library has on microform and in print going back to 1888.
- JSTOR (coverage varies) - This database holds the fulltext of journal backfiles, usually from the first issue. The most recent five years is not included.
- Project MUSE (coverage varies) - This is a fulltext database of about 150 scholarly journals. Some are backfiles only, but most include current articles as well.
The Reference Collection includes guides to short story criticism. Here are a few:
- Short Fiction Criticism: A Checklist of Interpretation Since 1925 of Stories and Novelettes (American, British, Continental) 1800-1958 (ref PN 3373 T58)
- Twentieth-Century Short Story Explication (ref PN 3373 W3 1977 & suppl.)
- Twentieth-Century European Short Story: An Annotated Bibliography (ref PN 3335 M39 1989)
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.
FOR MORE HELP WITH ANY OF YOUR RESEARCH NEEDS, PLEASE ASK A LIBRARIAN