This important sourcebook for information about black writers and their craft is a welcome companion to the recently issued Norton Anthology of African American Literature
. More to the point, it shows how much black literature, once relegated to the margins, has become mainstream. Here are brief biographies of more than 400 black writers, entries on some 150 works, and a host of entries on characters from novels, stories, and plays. In addition, there are entries on topics such as Afrocentricity (as well as on topics of more general interest, such as the novel), that make this essential for anyone who cares about black literature.
From Library Journal
The focus of previous reference works on African American literature has been narrow: the Harlem Renaissance, biography, women writers, etc. Editor Andrews (Classic Fiction of the Harlem Renaissance, LJ 4/1/94) here provides an Oxford companion that covers virtually all "the writers and writings that have made African American literature valuable and distinctive." There are many essays on such topics and genres as television and the novel; a 15-page overview of the whole of African American literary history; some 400 biographical entries, including figures such as Jackie Robinson, whose literary influence has been significant; digests of hundreds of novels, poems, and essays; and sketches of fictional characters, character types ("Uncle Tom"), and occupations. The signed, well-written, and authoritative entries include helpful bibliographies and extensive cross references. A vital reference tool for both general readers and scholars, this outstanding book belongs in every academic, public, and school library. (Index not seen.)?Peter A. Dollard, Alma Coll. Lib., Mich.
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