Maya Angelou: A Critical Companion

Maya Angelou: A Critical Companion

Maya Angelou: A Critical Companion

Maya Angelou: A Critical Companion

Synopsis

Maya Angelou's five-volume autobiography transcends the autobiographical tradition, enriching it with contemporary experience, African American vision, and female sensibility. With these five books, Angelou has created a work of epic scope that covers a quarter century of American and African American history, from the beginning of World War II to the civil rights movement. These volumes stretch over time and place, from Arkansas to Africa, as Angelou grows from a confused child in a Southern town to an accomplished adult. Throughout her life journey depicted in the autobiographies, Angelou grapples with the issues of motherhood and race and reveals the struggles of being a black mother in America, extending her perspective in the fourth and fifth volumes to encompass an African setting.

Excerpt

The authors who appear in the series Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers are all best-selling writers. They do not simply have one successful novel, but a string of them. Fans, critics, and specialist readers eagerly anticipate their next book. For some, high cash advances and breakthrough sales figures are automatic; movie deals often follow. Some writers become household names, recognized by almost everyone.

But their novels are read one by one. Each reader chooses to start and, more importantly, to finish a book because of what she or he finds there. The real test of a novel is in the satisfaction its readers experience. This series acknowledges the extraordinary involvement of readers and writers in creating a best-seller.

The authors included in this series were chosen by an Advisory Board composed of high school English teachers and high school and public librarians. They ranked a list of best-selling writers according to their popularity among different groups of readers. For the first series, writers in the top-ranked group who had received no book-length, academic, literary analysis (or none in at least the past ten years) were chosen. Because of this selection method, Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers meets a need that is being addressed nowhere else. The success of these volumes as reported by reviewers, librarians, and teachers led to an expansion of the series mandate to include some writ-

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