Review by Choice Review
This encyclopedia consists of entries about writers, works, and topics relating to the literature of Latin America, which is defined to include the French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands and Mexico as well as the countries of Central and South America. The signed entries are written by well-known scholars in the field. A one-volume encyclopedia with such a broad scope must necessarily be limited in depth of coverage; its inclusion of writers, historical and contemporary, is for the most part predictable, overlapping with other recent biographical reference tools (Hispanic Writers: A Selection of Sketches from Contemporary Authors, ed. by Bryan Taran, CH, Feb'91; Latin American Writers, ed. by Carlos A. Sole, 3v., CH, Jan'90). The entry for each writer consists of a critical overview of his/her literary work, a brief biographical sketch, a selected list of works in chronological order, and a list of further readings. There are no portraits or other illustrations. The articles that survey a variety of subjects are a valuable feature of this work, since many treat topics that are usually not represented in general reference works on Latin American literature. Among these are "Best Sellers," "Children's Literature," "Para-Literature" (popular literature), "Science Fiction," "Erotic and Homoerotic Writing," and indigenous literatures (Aymara, Quechua, etc.). Articles surveying the literature of each country, plus separate articles on colonial literature and on theater in most countries, contribute to the usefulness of this work. Three articles on Latino literature in the US focus on Chicano, Cuban, and Puerto Rican writers, although there are no entries for individual writers. A list of entries at the beginning and two indexes facilitate access to the alphabetical arrangement. Recommended for college, university, and public libraries whose readers are interested in comparative literature or Latin American literature and culture. A. Hartness; University of Texas at Austin
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
An honorary research fellow at the Univeristy of London, Smith has collected short essays on authors, books, and themes related to the literature of Latin America and the Caribbean. The essays range in length from one page for minor authors to ten for some country descriptions. Included after each essay is a brief bibliography of primary and secondary sources. This volume is similar to several reference works already availablee.g., Latin American Writers (Scribner, 1989) and Hispanic Literature Criticism (LJ 7/94)but it has some unique characteristics: separate essays for important novels, a greater focus on historical (that is, pre-boom) authors, more emphasis on literature from smaller Latin American countries, and more material on non-Hispanic Caribbean authors. This work will be of value to smaller libraries as their only reference source on Latin American literature and to large research collections that desire the unique elements. [Academic libraries should first consider The Cambridge History of Latin American Literature, 3 vols., cited in "Best Reference Sources 1996," LJ 4/15/97, p. 36-40.Ed.]Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.