With the continued expansion of the literary canon, multicultural works of modern literary fiction and autobiography have assumed an increasing importance for students and scholars of American literature. This exciting new series assembles key documents and criticism concerning these works that have so recently become central components of the American literature curriculum. Each casebook will reprint documents relating to the work's historical context and reception, present the best in critical essays, and when possible, feature an interview of the author. The series will provide, for the first time, an accessible forum in which readers can come to a fuller understanding of these contemporary masterpieces and the unique aspects of American ethnic, racial, or cultural experience that they so ably portray.
Perhaps more than any other single text, Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings helped to establish the "mainstream" status of the renaissance in black women's writing. This casebook presents a variety of critical approaches to this classic autobiography, along with an exclusive interview with Angelou conducted specially for this volume and a unique drawing of her childhood surroundings in Stamps, Arkansas, drawn by Angelou herself.