The Compleat Cast of Characters in Literature (SparkNotes)

( 2 )

Overview

We know the feeling.

You're thinking of a novel you read back in high school. You remember the main character's name, but you can't remember what he did that tipped off the action of the book.

"Who was that guy?" you keep asking yourself. "And whom did he kill again?"

Or you're on your way to see someone who loves her Shakespeare, and you just can't remember which Richard was the really bad guy, the II or the ...

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Overview

We know the feeling.

You're thinking of a novel you read back in high school. You remember the main character's name, but you can't remember what he did that tipped off the action of the book.

"Who was that guy?" you keep asking yourself. "And whom did he kill again?"

Or you're on your way to see someone who loves her Shakespeare, and you just can't remember which Richard was the really bad guy, the II or the III. (It's the III, by the way.)

This book is for those moments. Here, to help you in every literary pinch—those classes, those papers, those impromptu discussions—is an easy-to-use reference. We can't say we've listed every character in literature, but we've come as close as anyone can really hope to get.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The big brains at SparkNotes have entered the world of reference books in characteristic (no pun intended) style with The Compleat Cast of Characters. This massive, thorough volume contains information on over 8,000 characters in literature. Obviously, the book doesn't contain the names of every character ever created, but it makes an impressive effort. Entries are concise and clear, and the book is well-styled, easy to read (if not to lift), and full of the humor and accessible language that makes SparkNotes so popular. A great gift for college students, book lovers, public speakers, and trivia buffs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781411402188
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 3/11/2006
  • Series: SparkNotes Series
  • Pages: 1248
  • Sales rank: 1,057,782
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.75 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • 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

    Excellent!

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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