Encyclopedia of the Chicago Literary Renaissance The Essential Guide to the Lives and Works of the Chicago...

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Encyclopedia of the Chicago Literary Renaissance: The Essential Guide to the Lives and Works of the Chicago Renaissance Writers by Jan Pinkerton and Randolph H. Hudson
English | 2006-04 | ISBN: 0816048983 | 426 pages | PDF | 2,6 MB

Covering the Chicago literary scene from 1880 to 1930, this is the second volume in Facts On File's series on various American literary movements and the writers, books, events, people, and places associated with them. Most entries are one paragraph in length, but major writers have two- or three-page articles.

Important books, such as Sister Carrie, also have longer articles that analyze and summarize the work. All of the articles include cross-references to related entries and, where appropriate, recommended books for further reading. Scattered throughout are black-and-white drawings and photographs, but since many of the included authors are little known today, more photographs would have been helpful. At the end of the book is a list of the major authors and their works, a chronology of events in Chicago, and a detailed index.

Besides authors and works, coverage is given to places, buildings, and events that are of "primary or ancillary importance to students of the Chicago Renaissance," but the explanation of why they have been included is not always clear. The article on the Rookery Building explains why it is one of the finest examples of modern architecture, and it also points out that Frank Norris set part of his novel The Pit in the building. Yet the entry on Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church says only that it was the first African American church in Chicago. How or why it relates to the Chicago literary renaissance is never explained. Similarly, post-Chicago renaissance writers such as Gwendolyn Brooks, James T. Farrell, and Saul Bellow are covered in short entries, but these entries do not explain how such writers were influenced by the renaissance writers.

Despite this caveat, the book is an excellent source that introduces students to an important literary movement. This is a major new reference title that academic and public libraries with literature collections will want to purchase. High-school libraries in the Midwest will also find it very helpful to their students.
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