The Facts on File Companion to the American Novel

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Megan Lynn Isaac
This reference set serves as a basic, albeit thoughtful and comprehensive, encyclopedia for students and teachers of the American novel. The volumes consist primarily of two kinds of entries intermingled within the alphabetical arrangement. First there are 500 brief, original essays summarizing and evaluating different American novels, each followed by a short list of sources. There are also 450 biographical overviews of influential American novelists. Each entry is followed by a selected bibliography of the author's works and in many cases a list of sources where more information can be found. The final volume also includes essays on the African American novel, Asian American novel, Latino novel, Native American novel, and detective fiction as well as six lists of major prize winners, including the National Book Award, Edgar Award, and Pen/Faulkner Award. The volumes stand out in regard to the number of contemporary authors and novels that are recognized, including some writers with only one work yet to their name. In addition to the scholarly and classic authors that anyone would expect in such a collection, Werlock also includes entries on many authors of genre fiction, discussions of novels more notable for their popularity or cult followings than their literary quality, and a thoughtful and genuinely rich selection of regional writers, women writers, and novelists of varying American cultures and ethnicities.
Library Journal
Werlock's (English, emerita, St. Olaf Coll.) second publication with Facts On File (following the Companion to the American Short Story, 2000) should be similarly well received. The approximately 1000 alphabetical essays gathered here are either biographical or deal with an individual work. Biographical entries encompass historical and contemporary writers, women writers, and a variety of American regional/ethnic authors. Entries on individual works include prize-winning titles, other long-respected material, titles important to high school and college curricula, and, as stated in the introduction, "a large number of contemporary" works. Some nonfiction work considered literary is also featured. Essays are compact (most are no longer than a page or two), conclude with a bibliography, and are often signed. The final volume includes multipage essays concerned with such topics as the Asian American novel, the detective novel, and the Native American novel. Bottom Line While many similar, longer works exist e.g., Magill's Survey of American Literature (1991), Scribner's American Writers (1974-2005) series, or the more recent Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature (2004) none is as tightly focused on the American novel. Werlock is also correct in asserting that this set's strength lies in its heavy inclusion of contemporary works and authors (e.g., Cecilia Brainard, Fight Club). Recommended for high school, academic, and large public libraries. Lura Sanborn, Ohrstrom Lib., St. Paul's Sch., NH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816045280
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Series: Companion to Literature Series
  • Pages: 1536
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 3.20 (d)

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