LJ Reviews 2013 October #1
Each of these volumes of original essays on some of the 20th century's greatest authors is divided into four sections: "Career, Life, and Influence," "Critical Context," "Critical Readings," and "Resources." Of these, the "Resources" sections are the most similar to one another, offering a list of the author's works, a chronology of his or her life, a bibliography of other critical and biographical works, and an index. All the essays have a "Works Cited" list at the end. Beyond this basic format, however, Salem has allowed the volume editors, all scholarly experts on their subjects, a fair amount of freedom on what to include. For instance, usually the "Career, Life, and Influence" section includes a straightforward biography, but two—the titles on Joyce and Carver—don't; most of the contributors are academics, but there are, sprinkled around, novelists and writers of popular biography. Typically the tone is academic, too, although that tone ranges from full-scale jargon to a more moderate voice. The volume on Faulkner contains a piece of narrative nonfiction on being taught and teaching Faulkner's work. VERDICT This range of original essays by learned, intelligent writers with something to say about their subjects makes these works valuable for those in high school and up who are researching the subject authors. Recommended.—Robert Mixner, Bartholomew Cty. P.L., Columbus, IN[Page 102]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.