Consulting a literary guide (or a companion or casebook) will help you understand the plot, characterization, themes, narrative structure, and the use of literary devices in works of fiction.
Often, these reference works also explore the cultural significance of a specific text and their place in the literary canon.
Academic companions are scholarly sources, as are authored by scholars who specialize in studying a particular author, poet, genre or literary time period.
Kohn, Aaron, editor. The Oxford Handbook of Cervantes. Oxford University Press, 2021.
A fully comprehensive overview of the life, works, and influences of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616). The handbook contains chapters analyzing the plot, narrative structure, and the philosophy of the novel.
Other topics include the role of drama and novels of chivalry in society, and the use of humour in Don Quixote.
Cascardi, Anthony J., editor. The Cambridge Companion to Cervantes. Cambridge University Press, 2002.
The essays cover the historical and political context of Cervantes’ writing, his place in Renaissance culture, and the role of his masterpiece, Don Quixote, in the formation of the modern novel. Particularly useful is the article by Alexander Welsh, “The Influence of Cervantes,” analyzing the effect of the novel on other literary works. The collection provides useful supporting material, including suggestions for further reading and a guide to electronic resources.
González, Roberto González. Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Yale University Press, 2015.
A collection of essays outlining analytical and interpretive frameworks for understanding Don Quixote. Includes chapters on the depiction of chivalric literature in the novel, linguistic analysis of Cervantes’ prose, and other topics. Also provides a general introduction and a bibliography with seconary sources on the novel.
Lloyd, Rosemary. Madame Bovary. Routledge, 2014.
This study draws on both twentieth-century and traditional critical views to analyze the narrative techniques, underlying structures, and historical and social context of the novel.
Unwin, Timothy A., editor. The Cambridge Companion to Flaubert. Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Offers textual analysis of the complete range of Flaubert’s work, including Madame Bovary. The interpretation accompanied by discussion of broader theoretical issues, such as Flaubert’s place in the canon of French literature. A variety of critical approaches provides insight into the continuing power of Flaubert’s writing. The book includes suggestions for further reading.
Stoddart, Helen. Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus. Routledge, 2007.
A comprehensive handbook containing an introduction to the text and contexts, a survey of various interpretations and approaches to the study of this work, and a selection of critical essays examining postmodern, feminist, picaresque, and gothic elements of the novel.
Full-text literary criticism and reviews of the novels (and many others literary and poetic works), in addition to biographical information on authors and overviews of their works are available in the Literature Resource Center.
An excellent, comprehensive online resource for all students of literature and poetry.
A bibliography is a list of the books of an author or publisher, or on a specific subject. Oxford Bibliographies, compiled by scholars and librarians, contain extensive lists of annotated titles on many topics within the study of literature and poetry. It is a great way to find authoritative sources on your topic.
Each subject contains an extensive introduction (which provides an overview of the topic) as well as a list of annotated titles of books, arranged by category. Consult these bibliographies to find relevant publications on Don Quixote:
Caputo, Nicoletta. “Angela Carter.” Oxford Bibliographies. Oxford University Press, 2015, doi: 10.1093/OBO/9780199846719-0097. Accessed 12 Sept. 2023.
Childers, William. “Don Quixote in English.” Oxford Bibliographies. Oxford University Press, 2017, doi: 10.1093/OBO/9780199913701-0111. Accessed 12 Sept. 2023.
Kallendorf, Hilaire. “Miguel de Cervantes.” Oxford Bibliographies. Oxford University Press, 2010, doi: 110.1093/OBO/9780195399301-0030. Accessed 12 Sept. 2023.
Lead image: Albert Fourié (1854–1937), La mort de Madame Bovary (1883), oil on canvas.