Critical Insights Series

The series focuses on an individual author's entire body of work, a single work of literature, a literary theme, or film.

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Critical Insights Works

Critical Insights Works focus on specific literary works. These include novels, plays, and short stories. The list below links to extensive descriptions of each work.

 

 
Critical Insights:
ROMEO AND JULIET


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

Romeo and Juliet examines many aspects of Shakespeare's classic tale of star-crossed lovers including the history of the play's criticism, issues of confession, trauma and uses of the imagination.
 
Critical Insights:
OF MICE AND MEN


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This volume provides a rich array of fresh perspectives and valuable information on this short but beloved text.
 
Critical Insights:
THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This volume explores the Diary's diverse and dynamic representations in comics, theatre, TV, Youtube, in the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam as well as its remarkable reception in the US and in Japan.
 
Critical Insights:
THE WOMAN WARRIOR


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This volume features international scholars revisiting long-standing debates about authenticity, genre, and identity in the text, as well as pushing forward into little explored contexts, such as transnationalism, mythopoesis, diaspora, and relational self-hood.
 
Critical Insights:
THE HOBBIT


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This compilation of essays closely studies the classic staple of children's literature by examining some of its themes-such as maturation and overcoming greed-exploring the world of Middle-earth, and comparing/contrasting the text with its popular sequel, The Lord of the Rings.
 
Critical Insights:
THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This volume of essays examines what made this vernacular so groundbreaking, as well as the controversy that still surrounds one of the first Great American novels.

 
Critical Insights:
Nineteen Eighty-Four


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This volume includes essays that profile the life of George Orwell and his politics, as well as compare Nineteen Eighty-Four to other dystopian novels such as Brave New World, We, and Fahrenheit 451.

 
Critical Insights:
LOLITA


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This compilation of critical essays examines the controversy behind Lolita’s reception, Humbert Humbert’s role as an unreliable narrator, connections to Nabokov’s other works, and comparisons to the 1962 film adaptation.
 
Critical Insights:
THE HUNGER GAMES


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

Essays in this volume analyze the importance of The Hunger Games’ success on young adult readers, compare the world of Panem to other notable dystopias, and closely examine the relationships between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale.
 
Critical Insights:
SHORT FICTION OF FLANNERY O'CONNOR


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This volume examines and closely analyzes O’Connor’s best and least-known works, such as “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Good Country People,” and “Temple of the Holy Ghost.”
 
Critical Insights:
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, BY KEN KESEY


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

Essays in this volume include a survey of the novel's critical reception, a comparison of Cuckoo's Nest to The Grapes of Wrath, and an examination of themes such as race, gender roles, and early American humor.
 
Critical Insights:
BELOVED, BY TONI MORRISON


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This volume studies major themes of Beloved, including motherhood, the psychological impacts of slavery, and repression of memory, as well as connections to the real-life slave who inspired Morrison's story.
 
Critical Insights:
HARRY POTTER


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This epic fantasy saga tells the story of Harry Potter, a young wizard at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This volume provides insightful essays that dig deep at the heart of Rowling’s magnum opus.
 
Critical Insights:
LITTLE WOMEN


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This work surveys the critical conversation regarding Alcott’s achievement from all standard critical perspectives – social, gender, post-modern, psychological, and cultural.
 
Critical Insights:
WAR AND PEACE


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This volume examines Tolstoy’s unique achievement through a number of thought-provoking essays, and the interplay of the many genres of the text, including historical fiction, war drama, romance and realism.
 
Critical Insights:
THE SOUND AND THE FURY


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

A wide variety of essays allow researchers to find new ways to examine this popular novel.
 
Critical Insights:
THE POETRY OF BAUDELAIRE


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This collection of essays, by both seasoned Baudelaire scholars and by newcomers, reflects the breadth of the poet’s artistic and intellectual worlds.
 
Critical Insights:
MOBY-DICK


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This volume and author of nearly 30 books and over 300 essays) is designed to help make Melville’s great novel more readily accessible to a wide audience, especially students and everyday readers.
 
Critical Insights:
MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

Edited by Joel Kuortti, a specialist in Salman Rushdie's works and post-colonial and transcultural writing, this volume presents a variety of new essays on Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children.
 
Critical Insights:
FAHRENHEIT 451


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

An exploration of the most up-to–date collection of scholarly thinking on Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 from all standard critical perspectives.
 
Critical Insights:
THE AWAKENING


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

An exploration of the most up-to–date collection of scholarly thinking on Kate Chopin’s The Awakening from numerous critical perspectives.
 
Critical Insights:
BRAVE NEW WORLD


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This volume of criticism presents a variety of new essays on Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, a classic in the science fiction and dystopian genres. These essays delve into the cultural, historical, comparative and critical contexts for understanding Brave New World.
 
Critical Insights:
JANE EYRE


One volume, 300 pages
List Price: $105

This volume presents a variety of new essays on Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, considered by many to have revolutionized the art of fiction. Many agree that Bronte was ahead of her time as she explored the individualistic character of Jane, and topics such as classism, sexuality, religion and feminism.
 
Critical Insights:
SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

Published at the height of the Vietnam War protests, Slaughterhouse-Five seized the imaginations of thousands of young people and made Vonnegut into an overnight sensation. .
 
Critical Insights:
THINGS FALL APART


One volume, 336 pages
List Price: $105

Chinua Achebe put African literature on the map with his first novel, Things Fall Apart. It became an international success not long after its 1958 publication and has since exerted a tremendous influence over other African writers who, like Achebe, have sought to re-create African life in fiction.
 
Critical Insights:
ALL QUIET
ON THE WESTERN FRONT


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

"Finally, the truth about war," reviewers proclaimed when All Quiet on the Western Front was published in 1928, ten years after World War I had ended. Shockingly direct, it painted a decidedly unromantic portrait of the war in which Remarque had briefly fought and quickly became an international sensation.
 
Critical Insights:
THE CANTERBURY TALES


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

By combining sharp wit with an acute awareness of human nature, Chaucer produces some of literature's most unforgettable characters, such as the Wife of Bath, the Knight, the Miller, and the Prioress.
 
Critical Insights:
THE GRAPES OF WRATH


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

The Grapes of Wrath has stirred considerable controversy ever since it was first published in 1939. On one hand, some readers and critics have berated it as, at best, mere "proletarian fiction" and, at worst, leftist propaganda; on the other hand are those who have celebrated the novel as a major artistic achievement that interweaves sharp social criticism with a mystical vision of humankind and the natural world.
 
Critical Insights:
THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET


One volume, 440 pages
List Price: $105

Easily one of the most critically and commercially successful novels by a Mexican American writer. In deceptively simple prose, it tells the stories of a young Mexican American girl's family and friends and of her coming-of-age within an impoverished Chicago neighborhood.
 
Critical Insights:
THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

The Red Badge of Courage was a sensation when it was first published in 1894. More vivid, unflinching, and artistically and philosophically complex than any prior war novel, it made its author, Stephen Crane, an overnight international celebrity.
 
Critical Insights:
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE


One volume, 336 pages
List Price: $105

Latin America's most famous novel. An overnight sensation when it was first published in 1967, it has been translated into dozens of languages and remains a perennial favorite of readers around the world. Its strange, mesmerizing blend of the real and the fabulous introduced the world to Magical Realism and has inspired countless writers.
 
Critical Insights:
THE POETRY
OF EDGAR ALLAN POE


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

Edgar Allan Poe's poetry has long been shrouded in an aura of mystery, sublimity, and horror. Wildly imaginative and disquietingly mournful, his most famous poems-"Annabel Lee," "The Raven," and "Ulalume"-are some of American literature's most haunting laments for lost loves.
 
Critical Insights:
THE SUN ALSO RISES


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

Though Hemingway went on to write five more novels and dozens of short stories before winning the Nobel Prize in 1953, The Sun Also Rises, his second novel, endures as a quintessential American classic. With its vivid characters and spare, laconic prose, it effectively captures the despair, disillusionment, and muted hope of a generation struggling to find meaning in a world torn apart by war.
 
Critical Insights:
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD


One volume, 344 pages
List Price: $105

Overview essays consider the cultural contexts surrounding the novel and the critical reception of Lee's work. Other essays offer an examination of the novel as wisdom literature. Also included in this collection are character studies of Atticus Finch; a consideration of narrative strategies in both the novel and the film version of Mockingbird; and studies of sexuality, race, and ethics as found in the novel.
 
Critical Insights:
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE


One volume, 336 pages
List Price: $105

Essays contain an examination of the play in light of post-war American culture and censorship as well as a comparison of Williams's treatment of tragedy with Arthur Miller's in his equally iconic play, Death of a Salesman. Other essays consider how repression drives the play's action, and review a selection of Streetcar criticism.
 
Critical Insights:
DRACULA


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

Essays examine the literary history of the vampire and the critical reception of Stoker's most famous work. Also considers Stoker's novel in the context of the waning days of the Victorian era as the creep of modernity threatened the period's established beliefs and values. It also examines the use of sacred rituals within the novel, and offers a psychological perspective.
 
Critical Insights:
DEATH OF A SALESMAN


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

Essays present a variety of critical viewpoints and an array of critical approaches. Close readings include a consideration of the play in the context of literary naturalism and monetary theory as well as an analysis of Willy's comparison of Biff to Hercules. Other essays look at the differences between dream and reality while also considering the competing dreams of the Loman family.
 
Critical Insights:
THE GREAT GATSBY


One volume, 304 pages
List Price: $105

Essays consider the cultural and historical contexts of Fitzgerald's work while critical comparisons link the novel to the poetry of Keats and the novels Daisy Miller and Passing. The section of contextual readings is followed by a selection of critical overviews, including a consideration of Gatsby as a type of culmination of Fitzgerald's writings and an introduction to the Oxford World Classic edition of Gatsby.
 
Critical Insights:
GREAT EXPECTATIONS


One volume, 320 pages
List Price: $105

Central to this analysis is the moral character of the protagonist, Pip. Some essays argue that Pip achieves a sort of moral autonomy as the novel progresses while others view Pip as a victim-of both his own demons and the plotting of others. Another essay examines the Christian imagery and rituals present in the novel. In the concluding essay, the topic of the treatment of gender and class is discussed.
 
Critical Insights:
THE HANDMAID'S TALE


One volume, 336 pages
List Price: $105

Essays lend context to the novel by surveying the political and cultural events out of which the novel grew and how critics have responded to it. Two other original essays explore the novel in light the dystopian literary tradition and feminist literary theory. A collection of republished essays continues the conversation with consideration of the novel's narrative structure and an examination of the role of love in the novel.
 
Critical Insights:
I KNOW WHY
THE CAGED BIRD SINGS


One volume, 296 pages
List Price: $105

Essays investigate Maya Angelou's life and her role in black women's literature. Major pieces of criticism are discussed, with special attention to Caged Bird's early reception. The struggle for black identity and the role that both formal and informal education play in the young Maya's maturation are explored.
 
Critical Insights:
THE JOY LUCK CLUB


One volume, 336 pages
List Price: $105

Surveys the critical reception of Tan's works, particularly Joy Luck. Also considers the mechanics of Tan's novel, including structure, narration, style, and themes; and compares and contrasts Tan's book with Michael Cunningham's The Hours. Includes an examination of the traditional Chinese beliefs found in the novel, a comparison of The Joy Luck Club to The Kitchen God's Wife, and two interviews with the author.
 
Critical Insights:
THE TALES OF EDGAR ALLAN POE


One volume, 304 pages
List Price: $105

The original essays in this set illuminate the influences that shaped Poe, contextualize his work, and assess his enduring impact on American and Continental poetry and fiction. A sketch of the historical and cultural forces surrounding Poe illustrates their influence on his aesthetic; a reception history examines Poe's enduring contributions to the short story genre.
 
Critical Insights:
ABSALOM, ABSALOM!


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

Original essays include a close reading of the novel from the critical standpoint of feminist theory, an analysis of the novel's cultural and historical context and a discussion of the critical reception of Absalom, Absalom! The carefully chosen previously published essays provide a wide range of perspectives on such subjects as theme, protagonists, feminism, storytelling, race, style, Civil War, and time, among others.
 
Critical Insights:
AENEID


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

The essays in this volume discuss many different aspects of Vergil's work, including the historical awareness of Rome's future greatness, the significant psychological and ethical questions on fate and free-will, personal glory versus responsibility by those who lead, and the profound influence the Aeneid has had on Christian authors such as St. Augustine and Dante Alighieri.
 
Critical Insights:
THE BELL JAR


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

The original essays in this volume each take on a specific angle from which to examine the work. One essay discusses the issue of "nature vs. nurture" in the novel, while another discusses the similarities between Plath's work and Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted. The older essays provide some of the finest scholarship on The Bell Jar that has been made available over the years, and offer a wide variety of critical approaches to this work.
 
Critical Insights:
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

For more than fifty years, Catcher has thrived on its reputation as an underground text, passed among ardent readers with cult-like fanaticism, hard core fans who have found in the lonely misfit Holden Caulfield a companion, a friend for life. The essays in this volume offer an examination of the novel's impact over time, and include discussions of the reach of Salinger's influence, Catcher's tumultuous history, and the culture and politics of the post-war era.
 
Critical Insights:
THE INFERNO


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

The contributors to this new volume are in the main Dante scholars of great importance, especially in Anglophone circles, whether in new work or reprints of seminal scholarship over decades. Essays include a close reading of Dante, a chapter comparing and contrasting Dante's Inferno to his other writing, a history of the critical response to his work, and a chapter on the cultural and historical context of Dante's Inferno.
 
Critical Insights:
KING LEAR


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

Original essays in this volume begin with a treatment of the historical background of Shakespeare's play. Others offer a close reading of several key passages in King Lear, with an eye to the differences between the first published version and the revisions found in the Folio version of 1623. Two other new essays discuss the ways in which audiences and critics have responded to Shakespeare's tragedy and contrasts Lear with Marlowe's Tamburlaine.
 
Critical Insights:
THE METAMORPHOSIS


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

Franz Kafka's most famous novella. Essays include a new biography which warns that, although The Metamorphosis is considered to be highly autobiographical, it is ultimately a work of the imagination. Other essays include a discussion of the cultural and historical context of the work, the structure and function of self-alienation, Kafka's metaphor for extreme alienation, and a selective survey of the critical reception of The Metamorphosis.
 
Critical Insights:
MRS. DALLOWAY


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

This volume begins with a biography of Virginia Woolf. Original essays present an overview Mrs. Dalloway, including information about the work's origins and composition, analyze the world events and social conditions that provide context for the work, and discuss Woolf's efforts to create a new form of the novel appropriate for a new age. Republished essays include a discussion of the connections between Mrs. Dalloway and Toni Morrison's Sula.
 
Critical Insights:
A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST
AS A YOUNG MAN


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

Tara Prescott's review of Joyce's life helpfully places his novel in the context of Joyce's life and time, enlarging our understanding of the biographical fields the story covers. Another original essay surveys the spectrum of critical evaluations, explanations and appreciations of the book, revealing a kaleidoscope of fruitful. Republished essays explore the ethnic reach of the novel, the interwoven sexual and political dimension, and the role of faith in the novel.
 
Critical Insights:
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE


One volume, 352 pages
List Price: $105

New essays include a biography of Jane Austen, the critical reception of Pride and Prejudice, an examination of the novel's historical milieu, and a reading of the novel that stresses the importance Austen places on female education as a means of redefining the role of women in society. Other essays include an examination of the relationship between form and content in the novel, and several essays written from a feminist perspective.