"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)
"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)
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)