Prompted by the conspicuous absence of women from literature and visual arts textbooks, editors Hedges and Wendt compiled this patchwork of women in the arts. Not intended to be comprehensive, it's an idiosyncratic mix of pottery and dance, poetry and paintings, drawn from famous and unknown American and European artists from Anne Bradstreet to Judy Chicago, from Charlotte Bronte to Holly Near. Conscientiously, the editors draw selections from contemporary hyphenated Americans--Native, Asian, Hispanic, etc.--for reasons apparently more ethnic than aesthetic. They subdivide the collection into chapters on the metamorphosis of household skills to high art (one woman makes a quilt, another admires it in a poem); traditional obstacles to female ""artisthood"" (from little kids to big ones); the ""definitions and discoveries"" of women who have broken through the formidable ""door"" into artistdom; and the final apotheosis from self-centered artist to sisterly soul filled with social responsibility ("". . . many women artists today are choosing to work as members of egalitarian groups and collectives. . .""). Put together as a corrective text, the book staggers under its editorial load of comment, didactic paraphrase, and interpretation. As school texts go, it is ambitious, painstaking, and no more dogmatic than most; and luckily, the work of women artists is various and strong enough to weather even this scrupulosity. A solid, if joyless, compendium.