Understanding Gloria Naylor /
Margaret Earley Whitt.
Columbia : University of South Carolina Press, c1999.
xii, 262 p. ; 19 cm.
More Details
Columbia : University of South Carolina Press, c1999.
contents note
Understanding Gloria Naylor -- The women of Brewster Place -- Linden Hills -- Mama Day -- Bailey's Café -- The men of Brewster Place.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [233]-244) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1999-11-15:
Having issued over 50 volumes devoted to contemporary American authors and genres, the "Understanding Contemporary American Literature" series, under the direction of Matthew J. Bruccoli, continues to provide useful guides for students and general readers. Following Edward Foster's broader work, Understanding the Beats (LJ 3/1/92), Theado's more focused study examines Kerouac's books in the order in which they were written, as opposed to their publication order or their place in Kerouac's "Duluoz legend"Äan approach that makes it easier to trace the development of major themes and motifs and to chart Kerouac's artistic growth as he experiments with language and technique. Making good use of Kerouac's recently published correspondence, Theado's analyses of Kerouac's major themes are generally on target. But too much of the book is devoted to summary. Whitt is much better at integrating summary and analysis in her graceful study of Naylor's work (although, to be fair to Theado, taking on Kerouac's massively diverse corpus is the more formidable task). Examining each of Naylor's novels in order of publication (through her 1998 The Men of Brewster Place), she perceptively comments on Naylor's major themes, her use of symbolism, the development of her characters, and her critical reputation. She also explores Naylor's literary influencesÄthe Bible, Dante, Shakespeare, African American folklore, and mythology. Whitt's scholarship, presented in clear, vivid prose, is perfect for the readers this series hopes to attract, though more knowledgeable readers will also benefit from her keen insights into one of America's most talented novelists. Like all series volumes, these works include primary and briefly annotated secondary bibliographies.ÄWilliam Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2000-05-01:
The most recent addition to the "Understanding Contemporary American Literature" series, this volume provides an excellent introduction to the five novels Naylor has published over almost two decades. After a brief introduction that sketches the salient details of Naylor's life and work, Whitt (Univ. of Denver) turns her attention to a close analysis of the individual novels, framing each discussion with summaries of contemporary reviews and the critical reception of the work. She treats Naylor's first four novels as a carefully conceived quartet, linked by interconnected landscapes, characters, themes, and images. From this perspective, Naylor's award-winning first novel, The Women of Brewster Place--which underscores the depths of Naylor's passion for exploring the diversity of black women's lives--can be seen as the wellspring of her subsequent fictional efforts. Whitt then explores sense of place, language, myth, and symbol in Linden Hills, Bailey's Cafe, and Mama Day. She concludes with an examination of Naylor's most recent novel, The Men of Brewster Place (1998), a work that revisits the neighborhood of her first novel and offers a coda to her quartet. Written in a straightforward and accessible style, Whitt's intelligent study includes organized footnotes and an excellent bibliography that offer undergraduates and graduate students direction for further study. Highly recommended. J. A. Miller; George Washington University
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, November 1999
Choice, May 2000
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Table of Contents
Series Editor's Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Understanding Gloria Naylorp. 1
The Women of Brewster Placep. 10
Linden Hillsp. 57
Mama Dayp. 113
Bailey's Cafep. 153
The Men of Brewster Placep. 203
Notesp. 223
Bibliographyp. 233
Indexp. 245
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