The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936 Page: 76
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
dominantly Texan but not entirely neglectful of Louisiana,
Arkansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
The chief excellence of the book lies in its choice of material.
The older writings represented are not the hackneyed favorites long
ago made stale to teachers, if not to students, of literature. The
supplementary reading lists, abundantly suggestive of further read-
ing in American as well as world literature, are likewise highly
The weaknesses of the book, which are as conspicuous as its
merits, lie in the editing. Perhaps it suffers from too-great am-
bitiousness of design. An attempt is made to include a critical
analysis of the development of each type. There is even a twelve-
page discussion of American literature as influenced by journal-
ism and the magazine, with no selections whatever to complete
the discussion-a strange omission, or inclusion, in a book whose
avowed purpose is subordination of the historical approach in
order to foster a genuine appreciation of the literature itself. In
places the editors have ignored the best contemporary criticism,
to the detriment of sound critical understanding.
The book is overloaded with supplementary material. Poe's
biography, to give one example of the method followed, is given
under the section on the short story and again under poetry,
though it is only fair to say that there is not undue overlapping
of the biographical material itself. The study features, the vari-
ous biographies, and the critical analyses-thrust with annoying
regularity into the body of the literature--weigh formidably,
making an unmistakable textbook out of what might otherwise
be not merely a text but a volume that any lover of books would
delight to own.
The most serious objection to the book, considered as a text,
is that part of the critical material is shockingly written. It is
not merely that the style is wooden in places or that certain biog-
raphies are too dryly encyclopedic. There is some definitely bad
writing. Such ungainly phrases as "poem interest" and "poem
development" might well mar the effect of the most moving of
poems. In certain places the best contemporary punctuation is
not used. Worse still, some of the sketches are marked by
dangling modifiers and other incoherence of expression. It is
lamentable that any text designed at least in part to inculcate
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936, periodical, 1936; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101095/m1/84/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.