Critical Insights: Maya Angelou

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
  • Chronology of Author's Life
  • Complete List of Author's Works
  • Publication Dates of Works
  • Detailed Bio of the Editor
  • General Bibliography
  • General Subject Index
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Editor: Mildred R. Mickle
October 2016 · 1 volume · 300 pages · 6"x9"

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Print Purchase
ISBN: 978-1-68217-112-7
# of Pages: 300
# of Volumes: 1
Print List Price: $105
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e-ISBN: 978-1-68217-113-4
eBook Single User Price: $105

A great starting point for students seeking an introduction to Maya Angelou and the critical discussions surrounding her work.

As an author, poet, actor, singer, dancer, civil rights activist, and more, Maya Angelou lived a life worthy of seven autobiographies. From a troubled childhood in St. Louis to her work with Martin Luther King, Jr. to her vast oeuvre of poetry and prose, this volume profiles one of the most prolific African American voices of the 20th century, highlighting her most famous work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

In eighty-six years, she published over fifty books of prose, poetry, and children’s literature. This collection does contain a few essays that discuss I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; however, its primary focus is on her other autobiographies, her essays, and some of her poetry.

The first chapter is a biographical sketch of Maya Angelou in which Mildred R. Mickle provides an overview of Maya Angelou’s life, highlighting her major accomplishments; her participation in American theatre; her influence on major twentieth-century figures, like Oprah Winfrey; and her legacy of poignantly written poetry and autobiography. The volume then breaks down into three parts: Critical Contexts, Critical Readings of Angelou’s Prose, and Critical Readings of Angelou’s Poetry.

The Critical Readings: Angelou’s Prose section contains essays that critique Angelou’s autobiographies and essays and present select information from her interviews. While the Critical Readings: Angelou’s Poetry section offers essays that discuss select poetry by Maya Angelou.

Each essay is 2,500 to 5,000 words in length, and all essays conclude with a list of "Works Cited," along with endnotes. Finally, the volume's appendixes offer a section of useful reference resources:

A chronology of the author's life
A complete list of the author's works and their original dates of publication
A general bibliography
A detailed paragraph on the volume's editor
Notes on the individual chapter authors
A subject index