Review by Choice Review
This set is the first in "The Gale Critical Companion Collection," an effort to bring together collections of criticism related to particular literary movements. The three volumes provide a wealth of information about the Harlem Renaissance. Volume 1 provides a descriptive chronology of events, an overview of the period in which black art and literature flourished, and entries such as "Social, Economic and Political Factors that Influenced the Harlem Renaissance," "Publishing and Periodicals during the Harlem Renaissance," "Performing Arts during the Renaissance," and "Visual Arts during the Harlem Renaissance." The 33 author entries that make up volumes 2 and 3 include a portrait of the author (where available), a biographical sketch, a complete bibliography of the author's works, a selection of critical essays, and an annotated bibliography of further reading. Each volume contains author, title, and subject indexes. There is little overlap with Gale's various literary criticism series, because only this set offers primary sources, photographs, and sidebars that add historical and cultural context on a topic or an author's work. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars of African American literature. N. M. Allen University of South Florida
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
Intended for upper-high-school and undergraduate students, Harlem Renaissance spans three volumes. Volume 1 focuses on five topic areas, starting with an overview and background information, then moving on to chapters on social, economic, and political factors; publishing and periodicals; performing arts; and the visual arts. Each chapter averages about 100 pages and follows a standard pattern of organization. For example, the chapter discussing the performing arts begins with a two-page introduction followed by a list of representative works and a collection of primary materials. Essays reprinted from other sources provide overviews of performing arts during the Harlem Renaissance and discussions of drama, film, and music. Each chapter ends with a list of further readings. Reading lists are excellently annotated and current but neglect Internet sites. Volumes 2 and 3 are devoted to writers. Eleven female and twenty-two male authors are discussed, among them Arna Bontemps, Marcus Garvey, Angelina Weld Grimke, James Weldon Johnson, and Dorothy West. Entries average 30 to 50 pages, the shortest being 7 pages. Most author entries include biographical profiles, lists of principal works, some primary source material, critical essays, and further reading lists. For example, the entry on Zora Neale Hurston includes, among other items, the short story "Spunk," nine complete critical essays reprinted from other sources, and a one-and-one-half page listing of further readings, including cross-references to other Gale titles. Two illustrations are included within the section on Hurston, a photo of the author and a playbill cover. Illustrations are in black and white and of good quality but used sparingly throughout the set. Each volume contains a cumulative author index, title index, and subject index plus a chronology outlining key events between 1890 and 1937. Although much of the content is available elsewhere, including other publications from Gale (according to the preface there is 15 percent or less overlap with Gale's Literary Criticism series), it is useful to have so much material brought together and presented in this particular context. The breadth and depth of Harlem Renaissance make it a valuable and unique reference source for academic, public, and high-school libraries. A resource with a similar title, Harlem Renaissance (UXL, 2000), is better suited for younger audiences.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 10 Up-This set includes a wealth of information about the Harlem Renaissance from the perspective of those who experienced it. Volume one includes an overview of the era. Various sections discuss social, economic, and political influences; performing arts; periodicals; and visual arts. The many primary sources included are often lengthy and sophisticated, sometimes offering different views on a topic. The other two volumes provide in-depth coverage of a range of literary figures such as Gwendolyn Bennett, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and Walter White. Biographical sketches and critical essays are included for each person. Principal works by each author are covered at length. "Primary Sources" includes entire poems or excerpts from short stories or essays. Annotated lists for further reading conclude each entry. Serious students of the period will find this scholarly look at the major issues and literary figures of the Harlem Renaissance invaluable.-Julie Webb, Shelby County High School, Shelbyville, KY (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.