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"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)
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