A tremendous enterprise, this complete, critical, biographical and historical record of American writers and American literature. What the Cambridge History of American Literature has meant for past decades, this new undertaking should do for the 20th century, in establishing its own criteria of literary judgment. The work is a collaboration of historians and critics, under the direction of seven editors, and with 48 contributors, who have all worked jointly with the editors on the overall plan, approach and interrelation of material. Authorship is given in a specific place, but the chapters themselves stand without by-lines. In the editorial foreword the fresh approach to the debt owed Europe is emphasized, with further stress on the factors characteristic of our literature from its beginnings. Throughout its history, American literature is viewed in terms of its sources, reinterpreted in the mobility, the progressive viewpoint of the men who created a national culture, as the waves from the old world changed form and nature and direction in the new, and logical patterns developed. An important work for every public and college library....No attempt has been made to cover the actual text of this mammoth work, but a look at the list of contributors is sufficient evidence of its worth, representing as it does all facets of the best of the American world of criticism.