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The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story January 1, 2000 by Lawrence Graver Blanche Gelfant (Editor)

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Product details:
Language‏:‎English
Hardcover‏:‎660pages
ISBN-10‏:‎0231110987
ISBN-13‏:‎978-0231110983
Readingage‏:‎13-17years
Lexilemeasure‏:‎1400L

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Description

Esteemed critic Blanche Gelfant’s brilliant companion gathers together lucid essays on major writers and themes by some of the best literary critics in the United States. Part 1 is comprised of articles on stories that share a particular theme, such as “Working Class Stories” or “Gay and Lesbian Stories.” The heart of the book, however, lies in Part 2, which contains more than one hundred pieces on individual writers and their work, including Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Richard Ford, Raymond Carver, Eudora Welty, Andre Debus, Zora Neal Hurston, Anne Beattie, Bharati Mukherjee, J. D. Salinger, and Jamaica Kincaid, as well as engaging pieces on the promising new writers to come on the scene. Read more

From Library Journal Gelfant, former Robert E. Maxwell Professor in the Arts and Sciences at Dartmouth, has edited an eminently useful work. While there are other books on short stories and on the authors included here, this resource is unusually well done. The first 100 pages are devoted to thematic essays that focus on the form of the short story, the development of the genre, several distinct subject types (e.g., short stories of the Holocaust or of the working class), and four different ethnic groups (African American, Asian American, Chicano Latino American, and Native American). These especially well-crafted essays weave history and context around specific stories to illustrate points for further discussion. The remainder of the book is devoted to over 100 individual author essays that focus on reading for pleasure and understanding rather than critical interpretation. Entries discuss the development of each author and the content and meaning of his or her major short stories. From Hemingway and Raymond Carver to Elizabeth McCracken and Lorrie Moore, the writers included represent a wide range of time periods and styles. It is, perhaps, the bane of any collection that space limits who can be included, and this work does omit some authors most readers would expect to see. Kate Chopin and Stephen Crane, for example, are discussed only in the thematic essays. The collection also offers little on new short story writers who are expanding both the genre and its readership. Despite these small questions of coverage, this wonderful resource is essential for academic libraries and is highly recommended for public and school libraries.Neal Wyatt, Chesterfield Cty. P.L., VA. Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Booklist These two titles share the topic of short stories. There is an overlap of 16 writers who are represented in both books, but there are also important differences between the covers.The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story begins with 11 essays on broad topics such as “The American Short Story, 1807-1900,” “The African American Short Story,” and “American Short Stories of the Holocaust.” After the general essays, some 113 author essays are arranged alphabetically, from Adams, Alice to Yezierska, Anzia. Each contains a brief biographical sketch, an overview of the writer’s career and major contributions, an analysis of some stories, and a selected bibliography. Essays range in length from four pages to a maximum of eight pages. Many of the writers covered–among them James Baldwin, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Ernest Hemingway, and Edith Wharton–are firmly established in the canon, although there are also some relative newcomers, such as Rick Bass, Sandra Cisneros, and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.Greenwood’s book presents 47 contemporary short story writers whose major works were produced in the latter part of the twentieth century (1960s on), among them Chinua Achebe, Margaret Atwood, Nadine Gordimer, and Maxine Hong Kingston. More than half come from ethnic groups who were not recognized in this field until the 1980s. Among them are American writers of Jewish, African, Native American, Asian, and Latin American descent. Other writers come from Great Britain, Africa, Canada, Ireland, West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa. Approximately 30 of the writers are women.Entries begin with biographical information, followed by a brief review of existing criticism, a more detailed analysis of specific works, and a selected bibliography. The chapters about each writer vary in length from as little as 4 pages to as many as 15 pages for Robert Coover.The Columbia Companion offers deeper coverage of American short stories, while A Reader’s Companion to the Short Story in English provides a more global perspective. Both would be an asset to library collections at the high-school and college levels. Another fine volume, The Facts On File Companion to the American Short Story [RBB S 1 00], covers American writers from the early nineteenth through the twentieth centuries and has entries for literary terms and theories, influential magazines, important collections, awards, notable characters, and subgenres, as well as for authors. RBBCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved Review An eminently useful work. While there are other books on short stories and on the authors included here, this new resource is unusually well done…. The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story is essential for academic libraries and is highly recommended for public and school libraries. — Neal Wyatt ― Library JournalThe Columbia Companion offers deeper coverage of American short stories… [this] would be an asset to library collections at the high-school and college levels. ― BooklistParticularly useful because it includes contemporary authors who are difficult to find… The writing is uniformly excellent, and the efficient index includes authors, story titles, book titles, and subjects. — J. E. Sheets ― ChoiceHere are the categories of a postcanonical era with a vengeance: not just stories with a thematic cycle but also those written by African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicano-Latinos, lesbians and gays, Native Americans, non-English speakers, members of the working class, people concerned with the Holocaust, and even those with ecological interests. ― American Literary ScholarshipEach entry presents a critique of at least two of an author’s stories, a biliography of the story collections, and recommendations for more sustained critiques of the author’s work. ― American LiteratureThis reference will be well-used by high school students seeking resources for the ubiquitous literary ‘term paper.’ And in so doing, they may begin to develop a ‘sense of what makes a writer unique.’ — Virginia Wallace ― ALA Bibliography About the Author Blanche H. Gelfant is the author of The American City Novel, Women Writing in America: Voices in Collage, and Cross-Cultural Reckonings: A Triptych of Russian, American and Canadian Texts. For many years she was the Robert E. Maxwell Professor in the Arts and Sciences at Dartmouth. In recognition of her contributions as critic and scholar, the American Literature Division of the Modern Language Association has honored professor Gelfant with the Jay B. Hubbell Award for Lifetime Achievement in American Literary Studies. Read more

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