CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Edited by W. E. Messenger and W. H. New.

Scarborough (ON), Prentice-Hall, c1984.
620pp, paper, $19.95.
ISBN 0-13-934944-8.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Elaine Balpataky.

Volume 12 Number 5
1984 September

This book accomplishes its stated purpose: to provide an introduction to twentieth-century literature in English in the form of essays, stories, and poems. Selections were made to provide "glimpses of people, ideas, words, events"; to show the many literary forms and techniques current in this century; and to provide pleasure for the reader. The preface acknowledges that depth has been sacrificed for scope so that lesser-known writers might be included along with major writers from the British Isles, North America, as well as the English speaking South Pacific and Third World. (Canada is quite well represented.) The anthology includes no plays, novels, or long poems.

The arrangement is chronological, and dates of birth and death as well as country of origin and/or domicile are given for each of the 130 authors represented. In addition, selections from an additional forty-seven writers beginning with old and middle English are included in a special section called "Traditions" in an attempt to show the literary context in which twentieth-century writings have occurred. Also appended are fifty-eight pages of notes and study suggestions. They include a list of useful reference books, as well as lists of new words, foreign terms, allusions, and names of events, people, and movements found in the literature. Also included are notes on the elements of literature and on twentieth-century ideas and themes.

This anthology would be suitable for senior English classes of college-bound students. It could be used as a class text or as a starting point for individual study and research. (The notes and study guides provide a variety of suggestions.) The paper and binding are of good quality, and the type, while on the small side, is clear and along with the layout, permits reading without undue strain. The overall size of the book is manageable for the individual, and the price is reasonable. (The book would not be especially useful in a library unless the collection were small or anthologies in demand.) Includes notes and study guide as well as an index of authors and titles.

Elaine Balpataky, Ingersoll O. C. I., Ingersoll, ON.
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