Customer Reviews for

The Compleat Cast of Characters in Literature (SparkNotes)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2009

    The title of this book is misleading.

    I did not find that this book provides what it suggests that it should. I had hoped to use the book to tutor students in using literary references in standardized test essays. For my purposes, the book is useless.

    For starters, the list of characters is far from complete. I did not check exhaustively, but, at the very least, the book lacks characters from Jules Verne novels and some Dickens novels. There seems to be an emphasis on more recent novels.

    The book may suit people who can remember characters' names but not what they did. I do not fall into that category. I am much more likely to remember the events of a novel but not the characters' names.

    I am not sure what the cover of the book means when it refers to entries as "cross-referenced." Each entry is listed by character name and contains the title of the book, the author, and a synopsis of the character's relationship to the plot of the book. These are the only entries in the book. I had hoped for lists of the books with sublists of the characters in each book so that I might have some sort of an index.

    If Sparknotes comes up with a new version of this book, I would suggest two improvements.
    1. At the very least, the book should contain a list of the books whose characters are listed.
    2. The book should contain more characters from classic novels. The book is already quite large, but this might be handled by generating separate books for different time periods in literature. William Shakespeare might even require a book to himself!

    Unfortunately, I assumed that this book would be more useful, and I bought copies for my college-aged daughters. I doubt that they will use them.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009


    This book is a fantastic resource for literature lovers. It's probably not one that you would use every day, but it will definitely prove itself useful from time to time.

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