Notable American Novelists, Revised Edition

At A Glance

3 Volumes
1,536 Pages
145 essays
90+ Photos
Subject Index
Guide to Web


This solid volume profiles many of the writers included in the 'core curriculum' of high schools and colleges... These sketches... provide reliable, nontechnical analyses for young readers... The result is a good reference tool for public and academic libraries with limited budgets.  -Library Journal

[A] sturdy and useful reference work on 120 best-known writers of the 19th and 20th centuries.... Authoritative analyses of selected works form the bulk of the entries... a practical reference tool.  -School Library Journal

[T]he compact format, concise plot summaries, and facts about the writers make this set useful for public and undergraduate libraries, particularly those that cannot afford the larger Magill sets.  -CHOICE

This set is a good starting point for students looking for an overview of an author's works or deciding which work to read. Students focusing on a specific work will be better served by the Critical Survey of Long Fiction.  -American Reference  
Books Annual 2001

ISBN: 978-1-58765-393-3
# of Pages: 1536
# of Volumes: 3
Print List Price: $217

Notable American Novelists, Revised
In-depth articles on 145 of the most important American and Canadian novelists.

This new edition of Notable American Novelists presents biographical sketches and analytical overviews of 145 of the best-known American and Canadian writers of long fiction from the 19th and 20th centuries, arranged alphabetically by name. The set's three volumes survey the novelists whose works are included in core curricula of high school and undergraduate literature studies. The essays in this set first appeared in the first edition of Notable American Novelists and in Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Second Revised Edition (2000). Essays on living authors are being updated, and all the bibliographies in the articles will be updated. About two-thirds of the essays will be illustrated with portraits of the writers.

Notable American Novelists features often-studied writers ranging from Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and Jack London to Joan Didion and J. D. Salinger. Other important nineteenth century figures include Herman Melville, James Fenimore Cooper, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and George Washington Cable. Among the other major twentieth century writers featured are Sinclair Lewis, Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, John Irving, E. L. Doctorow, Joseph Heller, Toni Morrison, Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Pynchon, John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and John Updike. One can also find essays on such widely read and popular authors as Stephen King, James Michener, Louisa May Alcott, Larry McMurtry, and Anne Rice. A major addition to this new edition is the inclusion of Canadian novelists: Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, Frederick Philip Grove, Margaret Laurence, Mordecai Richler, and Sinclair Ross.

The range of genres and styles encompasses the naturalism of Theodore Dreiser and Frank Norris, the metafiction of John Barth, and the nonfiction novel of Truman Capote. Beat writers Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs are included, as are a number of writers from such disparate genres as detective fiction and science fiction; among them are Dashiell Hammett, Ross Macdonald, Raymond Chandler, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Ursula K. Le Guin. The diversity of the American experience is also represented. In addition to those noted previously, African American writers include Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Alice Walker. Also found here are Hispanic authors Rudolfo Anaya and Oscar Hijuelos, American Indian novelists Louise Erdrich and Leslie Marmon Silko, Jewish writers Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, and Chaim Potok, and Chinese American novelist Amy Tan.

Each essay begins with a presentation of reference information: the novelist's birth and death dates and a list of the writer's principal works of long fiction, with publication dates. "Other literary forms" then briefly describes genres other than long fiction in which the writer has worked, and an "Achievements" section encapsulates the author's central contribution and notes major honors and awards. The major sections of the text follow: "Biography" provides a sketch of the author's life, and "Analysis" looks at the novelist's work in detail; this section examines central and well-known works in the author's canon and illuminates the themes and techniques of primary interest to the novelist. The longest section in the article, "Analysis" is divided into subsections on the writer's major individual works. Following "Analysis" is a categorized list, "Other major works," that provides titles and dates of works the author has written in genres other than long fiction, including plays, poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction. Each essay concludes with an updated, annotated bibliography. All articles are signed by the principal writer and, where applicable, by the updating contributor.

Three helpful reference features are included at the end of volume 3: a glossary entitled "Terms and Techniques," a time line of the writers' birthdates, and an index.