Review by Choice Review

Pinkerton and Hudson (both of whom hold doctorates in English, and are university faculty) provide a service for interdisciplinary Chicago enthusiasts and scholars with this first encyclopedia on the Chicago Literary Renaissance. It compares favorably with Lisa Woolley's American Voices of the Chicago Renaissance (CH, Nov'00). The authors go beyond the literary world in covering this burst of creative exuberance in the Windy City, 1880-1930 (which they insist was more a birth of intellectual activity than a renewal) to include accounts of cultural life occurring in, or influenced by, currents in Chicago. Hence, they supply items on people, places, and events associated with political radicalism and reform, the motion picture industry, architecture, and jazz. The style and purpose are similar to (if more specialized than) that classic work on world literature, Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia (4th ed., 1996). The authors provide plot summaries and descriptions of American Midwestern or national literary characters and biographical sketches of authors, but the black-and-white illustrations pleasantly punctuating the text improve on Benet's traditional text format. Pinkerton and Hudson also include a chronology, 1673-1930, and a bibliography citing only books, with no articles or manuscript sources. Noticeably missing is any map of Chicago locales such as Lincoln Park or Bronzeville that appear as entries. Instead, there are a chart from 1830 (too early to be helpful for a city famous for its neighborhoods) and a panoramic cityscape. Despite that omission, a welcome addition to any reference shelf. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All collections. F. J. Augustyn Jr. Library of Congress

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