Twayne Companion to Contemporary Literature in English : From the Editors of the Hollins Critic


Twayne Companion to Contemporary Literature in English : From the Editors of the Hollins Critic



"Part of the new Twayne Companion to Literature series, this set features 101 select essays reprinted from The Hollins Critic (produced by Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia) during the period between 1975 and 2002. A chronology of that period's important literary publications, awards, and events sets the context for the essays at the beginning of volume 1. Each essay, usually between 5,000 and 6,000 words, surveys a contemporary author's entire body of work and is intended to 'do something more than merely offer a review of his (or her) books and something less than deliver a verdict on his (or her) 'place' in literary history.' Essays also feature a brief biography accompanied by a line-art portrait of the writer, a bibliography of the author's works, and, where applicable, a career update. The essays, written by literary scholars, were chosen because of the excellence of the writing and a perceived lack of subject coverage elsewhere.

Included authors are mostly novelists or poets, primarily American but also Canadian, English, or Irish. Coeditor Dillard takes pains to discuss the collapse of the traditional literary canon in his introduction, thus banishing all expectation of national figures and trying to exonerate himself from a canon debate. Instead, he offers examples of the current "openness and . . . genuine diversity of style and content far more complex, varied, and interesting than one shaped merely by the demands of political correctness." Indeed, the authors covered have an impressive range of styles: among the included are postmodernists Thomas Pynchon and Paul Auster, science fiction writer Octavia Butler, historical fiction writer Thomas Flanagan, popular novelist Anne Tyler, cutting-edge novelist Richard Powers, and poets Mary Jo Salter and John Ashbery. An index at the back of volume 2 facilitates locating people and titles." description



Publication Date



Twayne Publishers


New York


Richard H.W. Dillard, Amanda Cockrell, contemporary American literature, contemporary English literature, Hollins Critic


English Language and Literature


Edited by Richard H.W. Dillard and Amanda Cockrell.