Review by Choice Review
Literature by and about lesbians and gay men plays a vital role in representing personal lives and identities and in the construction of social realities. The 350 essays compiled in this volume document this rich and varied cultural heritage, meeting the needs of researchers and the interests of browsers. Summers covers a broader historical range and a greater number of writers than comparable titles, notably Gay & Lesbian Literature, ed. by Sharon Malinowski (CH, Sep'94), and The Gay and Lesbian Literary Companion, by Sharon Malinowski and Christa Brelin (1995). The particular strength of this work lies in its substantive overviews of national and ethnic literatures and its topical essays on significant literary movements or genres, including AIDS, children's literature, coming out stories, cross-dressing, mystery, travel, and war. Author entries range from brief accounts to in-depth critical analyses of major figures, although the definition of "major" is not clear and is sometimes perplexing. Certain highly influential contemporary writers (e.g., Tony Kushner, Kate Millet) appear only in topical essays. The index to entries and writers points to information on all authors, even those embedded in the essays, but biographical entries for each writer would be preferable. Liberal cross-references to related topics and brief bibliographies follow each entry. Recommended for academic and public libraries. J. Ariel; University of California, Irvine
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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