Magill's Survey of American Literature

At a Glance

6 Volumes
2,904 Pages
339 Essays
832 Photos
Category List
Author Index
Title Index
Discussion Topics

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Useful both as a guide for discussion and as well as a research and reference source, this has a place in any collection where American literature is a focus, from the high-school level and up.  -Booklist Starred Review  
2009 Booklist Editors' Choice
To read the full review, click here.

The writing is accessible, yet without condescension; the articles will serve the casual reader as significant sources of information and insight and will be valuable to more serious readers as starting points for research. A valuable resource appropriate for public, school, and academic libraries.  -Book News

Revision Details

73 New authors added
Scope extended to Canada
More minority and women writers covered
Authors of young adult literature now included
100+ essays revised
Bibliographies and lists updated
Discussion Topics added to all essays

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Editor: Steven G. Kellman,
    University of Texas at San Antonio

Booklist Editor's Choice
ISBN: 978-1-58765-285-1
# of Pages: 2904
# of Volumes: 6
Print List Price: $499

Magill's Survey of American Literature
Offers profiles of major U.S. and Canadian writers accompanied by analyses of their significant works in fiction, drama, poetry, and nonfiction.

Magill's Survey of American Literature, originally published in 1991 with a 1994 supplement, offered profiles of major U.S. authors of fiction, drama, and poetry, each with sections on biography, general analysis, and analysis of the author's most important works - novels, short stories, poems, plays, works of nonfiction. The Revised Edition updates these essays and adds many new ones, covering 339 writers at the heart of literary studies.

Expanding the Scope
For this edition, we added 73 new authors to the 266 already profiled. For the first time, Canadians are included, such as Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, Mavis Gallant, Anne Hébert, Farley Mowat, Alice Munro, and Michael Ondaatje.

In addition, an effort was made to cover even more minority and women writers. Also featured are authors of young adult literature, such as Judy Blume, M. E. Kerr, Madeleine L'Engle, Walter Dean Myers, Gary Paulsen, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Bringing Things Up to Date
All the original essays were evaluated for their currency, and more than 100 were given substantial revision, in many cases by the original contributor. The "Biography," "Analysis," and "Summary" sections were updated to include recent developments: new titles or awards, changes in residence or employment, and alterations in critical and popular reception. For these essays, one or more sections on specific works (novels, poems, short stories) were added.

For all essays, the bibliographies--lists of the author's works and sources for further consultation--were revised to provide readers with the latest information.

A new feature for this edition is a sidebar in each essay called "Discussion Topics." They may address the writer's body of work, specific works, or life as it relates to his or her literature. Aimed at students, teachers, and members of reading groups, they can be used as paper topics or conversation points.

The front covers of each of the six volumes in this set features a different writer:

Truman Capote Emily Dickinson Ernest Hemingway
Toni Morrison Edgar Allan Poe Amy Tan

Back Matter
Four reference features can be found at the end of volume 6:

Glossary: Defines crucial literary terms
Category List: Groups authors by genre, country, gender, and ethnic
Author Index: Lists all authors covered in the set along with their works
Title Index: Lists all works covered in the set

Author portraits and thumbnail photographs of book covers are included as available.