Many a reader compiles a list of favorite essays, but Georgetown University assistant professor Angelyn Mitchell turned that labor of love into a wide-ranging anthology. While studying at Howard University, the Clayton, N.C., native began collecting literary criticism by 20th-century African-American writers. “I found these pieces useful in the classroom as an instructor and as a scholar,” Mitchell said of her photocopied hoard. Eventually the personal became publishable, in the form of Within the Circle: An Anthology of African- American Literary Criticism From the Harlem Renaissance to the Present (Duke University Press, 532 pp., $18.95, paper). Mitchell’s goal was to include the most she could of the best she could find; among those represented are Zora Neale Hurston, Alain Locke, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. Their comments run the length and breadth of black literature: “I wanted a broad circle, not a hermetic one,” Mitchell says. She discusses her work at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, at Vertigo Books.