VOYA - Karen HercThis set contains biographical information, a list of writings, and a synopsis of criticism for over one thousand writers from this century. The format is a combination of Gale's Contemporary Authors and its Literary Criticism reference works, with slightly more information about an author's life than the former and less critical opinion than the latter. Each sketch ranges from two to seven pages in length. A prefatory note says all the sketches were either newly written or updated from the first edition (1998) with a complete list of writings through 1998; however, neither Alice Walker's nor Tom Wolfe's most recent books were mentioned. The volumes list the ten members of the advisory board who chose the entries and gives their credentials, but no information is provided for the sketch writers other than their names, and there is no indication as to who wrote which entry. The editors have made an effort to include a variety of writers from different genres, including children's and young adult literature, and different countries. The young adult authors represented include Robert Cormier, Virginia Hamilton, and Madeleine L'Engle. Each volume contains a complete list of all the authors, and volume five includes an index separated by nationality and one separated by genre. In the genre index, "E. L. Konigsburg" is listed under young adult literature but there is no sketch for her in the text. As is usual in a work of this size, there are inevitably other mistakes also. These include typographical errors (titles are occasionally not italicized); inconsistent spellings or misspellings ("adviser" and "advisor" in the same paragraph); and just plain incorrect information (Ida rescues her baby sister, not brother, from the goblins in Sendak's Outsider over There). Even with these caveats, however, this remains a fairly solid reference tool for libraries that cannot afford to invest in Gale's larger reference series. This set does pull together a large number of authors that readers would be interested in studying, and it has an easy format for students to use. Index. Biblio. Source Notes.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 9 Up-As hard as it might be to think of R. L. Stine and Stephen King as major writers, their inclusion in the updated edition of this title (Gale, 1991; o.p.) is important for high school librarians. Including approximately 200 new entries, this collection of 1000 modern and contemporary authors from around the world is a handy compendium of literary biography and analysis. It is perfect for students looking for some facts (including contact information) on favorite writers such as Mary Higgins Clark, John Grisham, Danielle Steel, or Amy Tan. It is also useful as a quick reference for the curious kid who wants to know why Northrop Frye's name keeps coming up at the lunch table. The three- to eight-page entries are clear and easy to read. They begin with personal information, career highlights, and a list of writings (and adaptations made from their works), followed by a brief critical biography, and end with a short bibliography. Occasionally, the critical bios get bogged down in an overabundance of quotations that are wrenched out of context, thus reading like a desperate attempt to cram as many citations and opinions as possible into a short essay. Two indexes (nationality/ethnicity and genre/subject) are included in volume five.-Herman Sutter, Saint Pius X High School, Houston, TX Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
- Cengage Gale
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- 18.20(w) x 12.65(h) x 5.84(d)
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