Library JournalThis reference volume contains articles on women writers worldwide throughout the centuries, from the ancient Greek poet Sappho to the contemporary Chicana fiction writer Sandra Cisneros. The articles, each averaging four to five pages, follow a uniform format covering principal work in the genre for which the writer is best known, work in other literary forms, literary achievements, biography, analysis of writings, other major works, and a bibliography of biographical and critical works. According to the introduction, each article was prepared by an academic specialist, but the articles are unsigned, and only a list of contributing reviewers is included. Although these 135 writers, individually and as a group, represent a diversity of language, culture, and literary genres, it is unclear how they were selected. Among the many writers noticeably missing is Aphra Behn, the first Englishwoman to become a professional writer, who is mentioned in the introduction but not included as an entry. Over 80 percent of the writers are from the 20th century, and over 50 percent are U.S.-born. For a much broader representation of women writers throughout the ages and a greater sense of women's literary history, see Claire Buck's The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature (Prentice-Hall, 1992). Since it does provide brief bibliographies of biographical and critical works and includes an index to writers' names and specific titles or works, this work could be useful to small public and school libraries with limited literature reference collections.-Jeris Cassel, Rutgers Univ. Libs., New Brunswick, N.J.
School Library JournalYA-Alphabetically arranged, this excellent book provides biographical and critical information, written in an easy-to-read style. Entries are usually four pages in length and include a listing of each woman's primary works. The sections on achievements discuss the author in relation to the other writers or events of her time. ``Biography'' and ``Analysis'' will be especially helpful to teens researching an author. The last two sections provide listings of other major works and where to go for further information. An interesting introduction briefly traces the development and recognition of female writers throughout history.
BooknewsA single-volume reference guide providing a survey of female authors of poetry, drama, novels, and short stories. The entries, arranged alphabetically, include a list of works, biographical sketch, a critical analysis discussing the author's influences and obstacles, and a bibliography. A diverse cross section of writers from around the world is represented, including Jane Austen, Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, Christine de Pisan, Selma Lagerlof; and Anne Radcliffe. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Zom ZomsThis latest literary reference source from Magill covers women writers from antiquity to the present. Poets, playwrights, and fiction authors are included. Of the 135 authors, 71 are American (11 African American) and the majority of the remainder are European Entries follow the standard Magill format. The author's birth and (when appropriate) death dates are followed by a list of principal works, a brief summary of achievements, biographical information, and critical analysis of her work. Each author is discussed in the context of her historical period in the "Achievements" section. Critical reception of her work is outlined, and awards are listed. Biographical sketches are adequate and cite events that influenced the writer or are reflected in her body of work. Themes, influences, and literary techniques and devices are thoroughly discussed in the critical analysis. Textual examples are used to illustrate and explicate work Of the 135 women included, only five do not appear in at least one other standard literary reference source, and most appear in several. This book is intended for a general audience, and the information is easily accessible by secondary-school students. Public and high-school libraries needing another reference source on women authors should consider purchase.
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