Review by Choice Review
This work includes essays on 41 American women writers who have published since the 1870s. The women span a wide range of regions, racial/ethnic groups, and genres, including poets such as Emily Dickinson or Sylvia Plath, playwrights like Susan Glaspell, short-story writers such as Flannery O'Connor, novelists like Toni Morrison or Anne Tyler, and intellectuals such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman or Susan Sontag. Both academics and practicing writers contributed the essays, which provide detailed accounts of the writers' lives, thorough critical analysis of their works, and bibliographies listing important primary and secondary works. The introduction by Elaine Showalter does a fine job of outlining the historical and cultural contexts of women's writing in America, and a useful chronology supplements this introduction. One index lists writers, titles, and subjects. Other reference works do cover American women writers, the most detailed being the four-volume American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present, ed. by Lina Mainiero (CH, Jan, Nov'80; Sep'81; Jul'82). Mainiero's work spans a greater time period but has shorter essays that list only a few primary and secondary works. Because of its currency and more detailed essays, Modern American Women Writers would be a useful addition to college and university library reference collections. -C. S. Faries, Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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