Review by Choice Review
When McCullers, barely 23, published The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, critics proclaimed her a wunderkind. Her career peaked, however, before she was 30. James (Univ. of South Carolina) traces McCullers's fluctuating reputation, offering separate chapters on her five novels, a chapter on her two plays, and another on her stories, essays, and poems. Though she describes most (but by no means all) of the secondary sources on McCullers that have been listed over the last half century in the MLA International Bibliography, her insightful discussion is not always dispassionate (witness her firm feminist perspective on the critics of The Member of the Wedding). James's coverage goes well beyond two previously available annotated checklists (Robert Kiernan's Katherine Anne Porter and Carson McCullers, CH, Dec'76, and Adrian Shapiro, Jackson Bryer, and Kathleen Field's Carson McCullers: A Descriptive Listing and Annotated Bibliography of Criticism, CH, Mar'81), and the book deserves consideration on the basis of inclusiveness alone. But James also goes beyond previous works in focusing on the cultural forces that have shaped the critical response to a writer she sees as deserving still further attention in the decades ahead. All academic collections. A. J. Griffith; Our Lady of the Lake University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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