"Designed for the general reader, the writing style and structure are simple, but the subject matter and excellent bibliographies will prove equally valuable to serious scholars of American literature." --ARBA, March 2009
"These two volumes are the beginnings of new series in the well-known Scribner Writers Series. Rather than concentrate on authors, these two sets will concentrate on famous works -- many of which are required reading in high schools. The table of contents for each volume will help the selector decide if the set is worthy of purchase.
For each work, the volume contains a biographical essay of the author, a long critical essay weaving analysis and summary -- heavy on the former -- and a select bibliography. The reading level is high school/college and each sketch is signed by a literary scholar who has experience teaching that work. These will join other authoritative literature reference works on the shelf and will likely get "appropriated" at the first hint of an assignment on a contained work. As with all major collections, each work covered in this volume needs to appear in the catalog so that students will be able to locate it. If analytics are missing, the volume will sit on the shelf -- no fault of its own. Highly recommended if the titles covered match your curriculum, and because it adds another authoritative and critical voice about each title on your reference shelf." -- Blanche Woolls and David Loertscher’s online Reference for Students (March 2003)
On American Classics:
"This source will be useful to high school and undergraduate students needing background information on these popular authors and their works. The well-written essays will provide them with a good starting point for further research. This set may be most worthwhile for teachers and professors teaching these works in their classroom as they provide substantial topics for discussion. This set is recommended for high school and undergraduate library collections."
On British Classics:
"Each essay provides a historical overview of the work and its influences, a close reading of the work�s basic elements (e.g., imagery, allusions), and discusses the critical reception of the work at the time it was published as well as its importance of the time. This volume will be useful to student�s needing additional information on these popular works, for teachers preparing for their courses, and for graduate students preparing for comprehensive exams. High school and university libraries should consider its purchase, especially those that own other titles in the Scribner Writers Series." -- ARBA (January 2003)
American writers classics, v.1.
"The first in a new Scribner’s/Gale series that intends to provide close readings of classics of American literature, this volume covers 20 works, including novels, short story and poem series, plays, long poems, autobiographies, and nonfiction pieces. Arrangement is alphabetical by work title in Gale’s standard page layout; the index lists personal names and work titles. The 15- to 20-page critical essay for each work includes a chronology of significant events in the author’s life and a select bibliography that cites at least the first edition, the edition being quoted, and some secondary references. Some bibliographies include references to other editions of the work as well as a list of other works by the author. In a few cases some citations to the secondary literature include brief, helpful annotations. The future of this projected series is unclear, but the editor expects it to "continue for a long time." No information is provided as to whether the set will be indexed in Gale’s Literary Index or reproduced electronically in Literature Resource Center (CH, Dec’99; both available at (http://www.galenet.com/)). Since the essays deliberately cover "the classics," this set does not fill an otherwise empty niche. Public libraries might be more likely purchasers than academic libraries; however, not all contributors write at a general readership level. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduate and public libraries." -- Choice (July/August 2003)
"This worthy work fills a niche for all high school and college libraries. With its focus pieces of fiction frequently taught in literature classes, students will be drawn to it as if by magic. This firsts volume covers twenty works in depth and averages twenty pages per essay, going far beyond the plot summaries found in Masterplots (Salem Press). The essays simulate a first class college lecture on the materials including societal contexts, intellectual underpinnings, ramifications, goals, targets of the writings, topical insights, and first class interpretations of meaning. ... Each essay selects chosen passages from the original works to reinforce interpretive points. Additional bibliographical features include extensive bibliographies; lists of works by each author; a complete listing of authors in American Writers series; an index of stories, books, and writers; plus biographical information on the essay writers." -- Reference and User Services Quarterly (Fall 2003)
— Reference and User Services Quarterly (ALA)
"Scribner launches a new literature reference source with these volumes, accompaniments to its well-established American Writers and British Writers series. While those series focus on writers, the new ones concentrate on works. Each volume contains extensive essays on 20 literary classics in various genres, selected after researching the curriculum and consulting professors. ... An essay of around 20 pages in length is devoted to each classic and enhanced by a chronology of events in the author�s life and a select bibliography of primary and secondary materials. ... These new series should prove to be very useful complements to the American and British Writers families of literary reference tools." -- Booklist (July 2003)