Critical Insights: Family

Critical Insights Series

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

At a Glance
  • 1 Volume; 300 Pages
  • 10-14 essays offering Current Critical Analysis by Top Literary Scholars
  • Introductory Essay by the Editor
  • Additional Works on Theme
  • Detailed Bio of the Editor
  • General Bibliography
  • General Subject Index
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Edited by Robert C. Evans

The Joy Luck Club is an examination of both generational and cultural conflict among four Chinese American immigrant families.

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Editor: John V. Knapp, Northern Illinois University
October 2012 · 1 volume · 300 pages · 6"x9"

Includes Online Database with Print Purchase
ISBN: 978-1-4298-3734-7
# of Pages: 300
# of Volumes: 1
Print List Price: $105
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e-ISBN: 978-1-4298-3782-8
eBook Single User Price: $105

Great starting point for students seeking an introduction to the theme and the critical discussions surrounding it.

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," begins Leo Tolstoy's classic Anna Karenina. Like the best family stories, it enlarges what seem like everyday domestic tribulations into an epic full of love and intense hatred, joy and stifled disappointment. Stretching all the way back to the earliest Greek dramas, the theme of family is truly one of the great themes of literature.

Edited by John V. Knapp, Professor of English at Northern Illinois University, this volume in the Critical Insights series addresses the theme of family in literature through a diverse set of texts and through multiple methodologies. For readers who are studying the theme for the first time, a four essays survey the critical conversation regarding the theme, explore its cultural and historical contexts, and offer close and comparative readings of key texts containing the theme. Readers seeking a deeper understanding of the theme can then move on to other essays that explore it in depth through a variety of critical approaches. Classic works discussed include Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice, King Lear, The Tempest, Sons and Lovers, A Doll's House, "The Dead," and The Inferno. Contemporary works include The Bluest Eye, …and the earth did not devour him, A Raisin in the Sun, and selections from the poetry of Philip Larkin and Seamus Heaney. Among the contributors are Steven Mintz, Joseph Carroll, and Brett Cooke.

Rounding out the volume are a list of literary works not mentioned in the book that concern the theme of family as well as a bibliography of critical sources for readers seeking to study this timeless theme in greater depth.