A sequel to Fifty Southern Writers Before 1900 (1987). The writers included, the editors state in their preface, are those most frequently anthologized; hence, the principal audience for this biobibliography will be undergraduates. For each author, a series of three brief commentaries are provided: biography, major themes, and a survey of criticism. This is followed by a bibliography of the author's works and a selected list of criticual studies.... This source does bring together a good selection of well-known writers, black and white, male and female, Deep South and borderline, and presents in one place biographical and bibliographical material. Another useful feature is the section each essay that surveys major studies of the author. Undergraduate and community college collections.
These companion volumes are at once sweeping and comprehensive. Noted scholars examine the lives and literature of 100 Southern authors, providing for each a brief biography, discussion of major themes, review of criticism, a bibliography on published works, and selected criticism. Volume 1 begins with 17th-century authors and works its way through the Revolutionary Period, but the bulk of the essays concentrate on the 19th century. An excellent segment deals with the neglected Southwest humorists and devotes attention to such black authors as George Moses Horton and Albert A. Whitman. Volume 2 purports to start with the Southern renascence.... The scholarship is meticulous and the essays are lucid and perceptive. Both volumes serve as valuable reference tools on a region of writers having universal appeal.
The richness and diversity of the South's contribution to twentieth century American literature is systematically documented in this major new reference work. This one-volume compilation provides not only substantial biographical sketches of each of its subjects--thirty-five male and fifteen female; forty-four white and six black--and bibliographic listings of works both by and about each; it also contains original and substantive critical essays assessing their literary output and impact written by many of the most distinguished current scholars of southern literature. The select fifty include poets, playwrights, and essayists as well as novelists and short-story writers. All of the major figures of the Southern Renascence, of course, find their places here. But what is now being documented by entries on such current practicioners as Walker Percy, Peter Taylor, Anne Tyler (the volume's youngest subject), William Styron, and James Dickey. . . . This is one of those rare works whose value as a scholarly reference source is matched by the pleasures and interest it holds for the general reader.