Authors with February Birthdays in the
Critical Insights Series
Celebrate with 10% off on Critical Insights Titles
Featuring Authors Born in February and their Works!
Critical Insights: Langston Hughes
“Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid." 
― Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems (Via
September 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4298-3724-8
Price: $105.00
Born February 1st, 1902
Poet, playwright, and short story writer Langston Hughes remains one of the most well known African American writers of the twentieth century. With memorable lines like "Life for me ain't been no crystal stair" and "What happens to a dream deferred?," many of his poems are beloved by readers of all ages for their strong emotions, lucidity, and depth.

Edited and with an introduction by R. Baxter Miller, Professor of English and the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Georgia, this volume in the Critical Insights series presents a variety of essays on the poet laureate of Harlem. For readers who are encountering Hughes for the first time, a biographical sketch then relates the details of his life and four essays survey the critical reception of Hughes work, explore its cultural and historical contexts, situate Hughes among his contemporaries, and review key themes in his work. Readers seeking a deeper understanding of the writer can then move on to other essays that explore topics like Hughes' relations to the Harlem Renaissance and black aesthetics, blues music, religion, and modernism.
Critical Insights: James Joyce
“Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home." 
― James Joyce, Ulysses (Via
Born February 2nd, 1882
Outstanding, in-depth scholarship by renowned literary critics; great starting point for students seeking an introduction to James Joyce and the critical discussions surrounding his works.

From the beginning of his literary career, James Joyce was the most distinctive figure in the renaissance that occurred in Irish cultural life after the death of Charles Stewart Parnell. From the first, he set himself to liberate Ireland, not by returning to Celtic myths or the Gaelic language and folklore, but by Europeanizing its cultural institutions. His early stories are an exorcism of the spirit of paralysis he felt about himself in the Dublin of his youth. As he gained detachment from these obstacles and knowledge of his own capacities as a writer of prose fiction, he produced two of the undisputed masterworks of modern literature, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses, as well as a final work that is perhaps beyond criticism, Finnegans Wake.
May 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4298-3834-4
Price: $105.00
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Critical Insights: Charles Dickens
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor." 
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (Via
October 2010
ISBN: 978-1-58765-691-0
Price: $105.00
Born February 7th, 1812
This volume in the Critical Insights series brings together a variety of new, classic, and contemporary essays on Dickens most widely read works. Essays celebrate Dickens dramatic and imaginative powers; his characters' "capacity to achieve selflessness in love" despite their grim surroundings, and Dickens realism and childlike awe of the world.

More than 175 years since Charles Dickens won over readers with his irrepressible Pickwick Papers, he still endures as one of the world's most beloved and influential novelists. But where general readers have long adored the novelist, critics have long been divided over his merits and faults. However, more recent critics have dug beneath the baggy plots and occasional sentimental outbursts to unearth and celebrate a darker, more serious, and more artistically sophisticated Dickens, one whose successors include Fyodor Dostoevski, Joseph Conrad, and even James Joyce.
Critical Insights: Alice Walker
“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your
right to grow.” 
― Alice Walker (Via
Born February 9th, 1944
Alice Walker's works are more relevant today than ever. With war, climate change, economic crisis, failures in public education, racism, sexism, and homophobia still part of current events, Walker represents not only a creative writer but an activist engaged in the causes threaded throughout her writing. Her characters fight battles familiar to all of us, yet their stories hold out a perspective that is new, mature, uniquely spiritual and all-embracing, and undoubtedly humanist.

Edited by Nagueyalti Warren, Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of African American Studies, Emory University, this volume in the Critical Insights series presents a variety of new essays on the American writer. Works discussed include long fiction such as Meridian, The Color Purple, The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Possessing the Secret of Joy, and The Temple of My Familiar; nonfiction from In Search of Our Mother's Gardens; as well as well selections of Walker's short stories and poetry. Among the contributors are Rudolph Byrd, Gerri Bates, Lillie Howard, Sally Wolff, Carmen Gillespie, and Brenda Young.
September 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4298-3730-9
Price: $105.00
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Critical Insights: Toni Morrison
“Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all.” 
― Toni Morrison, Beloved (Via
October 2009
ISBN: 978-1-58765-622-4
Price: $105.00
Born February 18th, 1931
Few authors have generated the critical attention that Toni Morrison has. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Books Critics Circle Award, and the Noble Prize for Literature, Toni Morrison's fiction has not only shaped the landscape of modern American fiction, but it has had a profound effect in shaping the discussion of African American literature, life, and aesthetics.

Morrison's works are dedicated to providing African Americans ways of defining and developing identity for themselves, their community, and their literary tradition. As towering and daunting as this purpose may be, Morrison has achieved even more. Creating literature about and for African Americans, Morrison gifts us with works that speak to and for all humankind.

Edited and introduced by Solomon O. Iyasere and Marla W. Iyasere this volume collects some of the finest pieces of Morrison scholarship.
Critical Insights: David Foster Wallace
“Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.” 
― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest (Via
Born February 21st, 1962
Since his tragic death in 2008, David Foster Wallace’s work has been the subject of an almost overwhelming array of critical analyses, from many different perspectives, and it continues to inspire and provoke new responses. The publication of posthumous works, such as The Pale King (2011), and Both Flesh and Not: Essays (2012), together with new re-arrangements of earlier work means that the field of Wallace studies is one in which the corpus of primary materials cannot yet be said to be complete.

While it is unlikely that a previously unpublished novel remains to be discovered in the Wallace archive, the intense scholarly interest in the author’s manuscripts and papers, together with the work being done on a daily basis by scholars from around the world, means that the critical conversation about Wallace’s work is, in a very real sense, in a constant state of process and re-negotiation.

The essays in this title extend the critical conversation about the nature and value of David Foster Wallace’s work
April 2015
ISBN: 978-1-61925-513-5
Price: $105.00
Critical Insights: John Steinbeck
“There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff people do.” 
― John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath (Via
October 2010
ISBN: 978-1-58765-703-0
Price: $105.00
Born February 27th, 1902
Easily one of America's most important novelists, John Steinbeck has been a favorite among readers of all kinds for decades. A versatile, restless writer who constantly experimented with new forms and genres, he seems to offer something for everyone-whether rapturous descriptions of the California landscape, fierce denunciations of social injustices, simple morality tales, or just picaresque adventure stories. His simple prose style makes him a perennial favorite among students, yet the layers of meaning his simplicity conceals give many readers deep, lifelong enjoyment.

This volume in the Critical Insights series brings together a variety of classic and contemporary essays on this American author. In-depth critical discussions of his life and works - plus complimentary, unlimited online access to the full content of this great literary reference.
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