This work consists of short excerpts of criticism of 20th-century American authors by important critics writing in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and books. The excerpts (ranging in length from one or two paragraphs to two columns) are allowed to stand on their own without separate plot synopses, summaries, or background information on the authors. The original words of the critics (often great writers themselves with their own entries) are arranged chronologically to paint a picture of the critical reception of an author over time. Although this work can be viewed as an abbreviated or minimalist version of Gale's Contemporary Literary Criticism and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism, it is easier to use because all authors are arranged in simple alphabetical order in three volumes. Because it shuns summaries, commentary, and other student-centered features of the Gale products, however, it will be less helpful to high school students and undergraduates than those works. This new fifth edition consolidates earlier editions (1960, 1976, 1985, 1997) and adds 70 new entries, bringing the total number of authors covered to 489. For public and academic libraries.AMarc Meola, Temple Univ. Lib., Philadelphia Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.