Review by Choice Review

Alexander and Smith, both authors of other works on the Brontes (An Edition of the Early Writings of Charlotte Bronte, by Alexander, CH, Oct'92; The Letters of Charlotte Bronte, by Smith, CH, Jul'96, Jan'01) have compiled a highly detailed, extremely comprehensive survey of the Brontes' life and works. Coverage ranges from the most minute details of the family's daily lives (including entries for their pets) to historical details, summaries of schools of criticism (Marxism, feminism), plot summaries of all of their novels with details about their composition, and Victorian criticism of the Brontes. The work intends to "serve the interests of specialists and general readers alike"; one need not know much about the Brontes to find this book useful and informative, but it is detailed enough to appeal to scholars. Because of the depth and breadth of the book's coverage, it displaces all other companions to the Brontes. ^BSumming Up: Essential. General and academic collections. M. E. Miller-Lamb Long Island University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

For almost two centuries both general readers and scholars have been intrigued by the writings that sprang from the fertile imaginations of a curate's children raised on the moors of Yorkshire. Covering not only the three Bronte sisters who have attracted the most attention (Anne, Charlotte, and Emily) but also their brother, Branwell, and their father, Patrick, this guide provides a wealth of information about their lives and works and the society in which they lived, as well as historical and critical perspectives on their writings. The more than 1,000 alphabetically arranged entries include lengthy articles on each Bronte and his or her individual works and shorter entries on characters and places in the writings and real people, places, and other entities associated with them. In addition, numerous substantive thematic and topical entries (for example, Art of the Brontes,0 Health and medicine,0 Psychoanalytic approaches0 ) help to elucidate the Brontes' world and their creative output. Bibliographical references generally accompany longer entries, and a selective bibliography appears at the end of the volume. The latter provides no references to relevant Internet sites, an unfortunate omission, since useful tools for studying the Brontes are available on the Web. Additional features include a generous network of cross-references, a number of black-and-white illustrations, a chronology, and a section that identifies dialect and obsolete words in the Brontes' writings. Providing an overview of the entire work is a classified index that arranges entries into topical categories, enabling users to find, for example, all entries relating to adaptations of the Brontes' works or to places where they traveled. As Bronte scholars, Alexander and Smith are highly qualified to have undertaken this project, and they and the seven other contributors have created a valuable compendium of impeccable scholarship. Containing more than twice as many entries as The Brontes: A to Z 0 (Facts On File, 2003), this excellent guide is the most comprehensive and scholarly reference companion to the Brontes now available. It is highly recommended for all academic libraries and larger public libraries. --Marie Ellis Copyright 2004 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

The enigmatic and prodigiously literary Brontes continue to be the subject of biographies and critical studies (see, e.g., Juliet Barker's The Brontes: A Life in Letters and Lucasta Miller's The Bronte Myth). In the typically splendid fashion of the Oxford Companions to various literatures, Alexander (The Early Writings of Charlotte Bronte) and Smith (editor, The Letters of Charlotte Bronte) offer a thoroughly detailed and compellingly useful reference book on the Brontes and their age. Arranged alphabetically, the more than 2000 entries range from the lives and writings of the sisters and their brother, Bramwell, to the literary and artistic context of the Brontes. Thus, entries on body snatching, health and medicine, governesses, and divorce laws in the 19th century take their place alongside those on Matthew Arnold, Jane Austen, and Cornhill magazine. Major entries take the form of miniature essays about the individual novels, the critical reception of various works, the juvenilia, and biographies of the sisters and the family as a whole written since 1940. In addition to a classified contents list, the companion contains a useful chronology that sets the history of the Brontes and their writings in their literary and historical contexts. The maps detail places in Ireland and northern England associated with the Brontes as well as places visited by Charlotte and Arthur Nicholls on their honeymoon; also shown are the Glass Town Federation and the kingdom of Angria, from Bramwell's juvenilia. All libraries will want to own this beautifully bound and in-depth companion to the Brontes, which is essential reading for devotees.-Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Lancaster, PA (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.