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How do I find reception studies?

A reception history or reception study looks at how a work has been perceived at the time of its creation or over time.

General notes

Look for

  • articles
  • scholarly articles
  • books or book reviews
  • prefaces, introductions, footnotes, endnotes, commentaries, appendices, etc.  in subsequent editions of an author's work
  • indications of which works were republished when


  • indexes for finding criticism
    • Articles on reception
    • Track scholarly reception (limit a search to specific dates) 
  • indexes of historic periodicals
  • bibliographies -- a powerful tool, often necessary for locating early writing in particular
  • newspapers, journals and books of the time and over time

For example :

Alice Munro : an Annotated Bibliography of Works and Criticism.

The Critical response to John Cheever.

Samuel Beckett in Context.

Key terms to use in searching indices such as the MLA Bibliography for articles on reception are "reception," "reputation," or "appreciation."

Subject terms in the catalog or WorldCat are "appreciation," or "influence."

For example :

Cervantes in Seventeenth-century England : the Tapestry Turned

Shakespeare and his Critics.

Indices to Historic Periodicals

Use to trace reception over time.