The Cambridge Companion to American Women Playwrights (Cambridge Companions to Literature)

The Cambridge Companion to American Women Playwrights (Cambridge Companions to Literature)

Language: English

Pages: 324

ISBN: 0521576806

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This volume addresses the work of women playwrights throughout the history of the American theater, from the early pioneers to contemporary feminists. Each chapter introduces the reader to the work of one or more playwrights, covering significant writers such as Rachel Crothers, Susan Glaspell, Lillian Hellman, Sophie Treadwell, Lorraine Hansberry, Alice Childress, Megan Terry, Ntozake Shange, Adrienne Kennedy, Wendy Wasserstein, Marsha Norman, Beth Henley and Maria Irene Fornes, in the context of topics such as early comedy and melodrama, feminism and realism, the Harlem Renaissance and feminism.

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awareness and her charity. As political acts, she refuses to eat and insists on carrying her suitcase. In a notable scene she insists first on giving away her stockings and then on giving an envelope of scarce sugar to the soldiers at the Front. Simone’s early life ends with an image of her suffering as she greets a painful migraine headache on the occasion of her first menstrual period. Her pain, reflected by the body positions and movements of the ensemble, introduces the mental and spiritual

to. “It’s all I really have that belongs to me and I’m going to say what happens to it,” she says (36). This is her decision, and she regards it as an affirmation. When Mama pleads with her not to give up, to try something else, Jessie responds, “I’m not giving up! This is the other thing I’m trying . . . This will work. That’s why I picked it” (75). Upsetting though the outcome may be, Jessie’s narrative is about taking control. One can analyze the emptiness of her life from a feminist

Laughlin, Karen L. 237, 238, 243 Laundromat, The xxxvi, 201, 203, 206, 207 Laura Keen Varieties Theatre xxiii Lawrence, Gertrude 96 Lawson, John Howard 70 Lee, Canada 135 Lee, Ming Cho 190 Lennon Play: In His Own Write, The 150 Lenoire, Rosetta 147 Leonard, Daniel 4 Leonora xiv Lerner, Gerda 155 Les Blancs 143, 152 Lester, Neal A. 240 Let Us Be Gay xxix, 94, 95 Levenson, Jeanine xxxvii Levin, Toby 241 Lewis, Sinclair 77 Liberator 115 Library of Congress xvii, 114, 251 Life

about the social practices and political attitudes of a former century. A number of interesting articles and several book-length studies have been published since 1980 which reconsider the plays and playwrights who worked in this genre. Much of the work completed so far has used the techniques of cultural history to investigate social attitudes and practices as they changed and developed during the nineteenth century. In order to investigate what the plays have to say about the culture that

dedication to the requirements of good behavior as defined by nineteenth-century culture. Each act ends with some spectacular effect that leaves the audience anxious to know how the hero or heroine will escape. People are tied to railroad tracks or threatened by buzz saws; buildings or other structures burn to the ground; the mine entrance collapses; or the train runs off the track. Such twists and turns of plotting brought about the colloquial phrase “cliff hanger,” and the technique is still

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