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Fairy Tales & Folk Tales: Conducting Literary Research: Home


Gale Literature contains the online versions of several large collections of literary criticism, including Short Story Criticism, Poetry Criticism, and the Dictionary of Literary Biography.  From the library’s home page, you can find it by choosing Reference Resources, then Gale Literature.

First, try an Advanced Search for the title of your fairy tale or folk tale and see if there’s a full article about it. Type the title in the "Name of Work" box to begin your search, like this:

If this search returns too few results, try it again as keyword search:

This will broaden your search to look through the complete text of all articles within Gale Artemis Literary Sources.

Print versions of these and other collections can be found on the 3rd (main) floor of the library in the reference section.  For all of these collections, look up the title of your story/poem/play in the index volume.
REF PN771 .C59                    Contemporary Literary Criticism (through 2013)
REF PN451 .D53x                   Dictionary of Literary Biography (through 2013)
REF PN 1625 .D72X                Drama Criticism
REF PN761 .N56                    Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism
REF PN1010 .P499                 Poetry Criticism (through 2013)
REF PN3373 .S386                 Short Story Criticism (through 2013)
REF PN771 .G27                   Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism


Electronic article databases are available through library home page by clicking on Databases under the "Articles" tab. Literature databases can also be found by selecting “Literature/Drama” under the "Explore by Subject" tab.
Academic Search Complete (general academic articles)
Humanities International Complete (humanities, including literature, art, music)
MLA International Bibliography (literature and language)
Project MUSE (humanities, mostly)
JSTOR (humanities, social sciences, sciences)

Several of these databases (Academic Search Complete, Humanities International Complete, and MLA International Bibliography) use the same EBSCOhost platform. These can be searched separately or simultaneously, by selecting which database(s) to search on the initial landing page.

Searching MLA International Bibliography, Humanities International Complete, and Academic Search Complete:
These three databases use the same (EBSCO) search interface.

Search for the title of the work. The following sample search uses the fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood" as an example. If the title of the work has more than one word, put it in quotes (this is commonly known as a "phrase search") for the best results.

Click on the full-text links or on Get Full Textto see where you can obtain a copy.

If the item you’re looking for is a book or book chapter instead of an article, do a separate Title search in the EIU Online Catalog for the book title.

Searching Project Muse:
Searches in Project Muse, a collection of electronic journals that covers many topics in the humanities, can be conducted similarly to how you search in MLA. Everything in Project Muse is available in full-text.


Choose Booth Catalog from the library’s home page.  In some cases, you may not find entire books written about a particular story. Instead, you may find books that include many fairy tales, or critical articles about the work or author published in a collection. 

Search for works of literary criticism on the your fairy tale by clicking on Advanced Search and typing keywords in the boxes as in the following examples.  Capitalization doesn’t matter when searching.

If you have not yet selected a title to work on, try searching on just "fairy tales" and “criticism” as subject terms:

Then click Find to see the list of results.


You are asked to use MLA style to cite your sources for this assignment. If you use another style, you must be consistent with the style you choose.

Reference the Booth Library MLA Style handout for sample citation examples. The Purdue OWL website for MLA style provides more detail on this citation format.


If you need more help, please stop by the Reference Desk in person, call 217-581-6072, or ask us through Ask a Librarian, and a librarian will be happy to assist you.  
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