Introduction to American Dramatic Literature is intended to provide students of American drama with a brief introduction to its development. We cannot mention, of course, all the dramas and dramatists involved in the over 340-year chronicle of American drama from the time of Ye Bare and Ye Cubb (1665) to such works from the 2000s as Maria Irene Fornes's Letters from Cuba (2000), August Wilson's King Hedley II (2001), Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul (2002). Introduction to American Dramatic Literature, however, endeavors to highlight the history of the American dramatic literature through limited and selected plays (especially dramatic masterpieces) and playwrights, with introductory critical factors emerged to shape American drama and the kind of story it could tell in its content. In sum, this book attempts to describe a body or list of works considered to exemplify, in one or another respect, the distinct varieties of plays and performances that together constitute American drama. In addition, by sketching the major figures, literary trends, and theater groups of the period, and by leaving it up to both the teacher and student of American drama to complete the picture in more detail, we sincerely hope that you will find this selected introductory tradition of drama and theatre in America worth your attention.
Introduction to American Dramatic Literature, for the most part, is about the central figures and theatrical developments of the decades that shape the nature of American dramatic literature. Thus, it is offered as an account of a theater discovering its own power and potential. It is also offered, however, with a selection as a critical introduction. Some of the prominent playwrights are mentioned but not discussed; Sidney Kingsley, Sidney Howard, Marc Connelly, and Paul Green are only mentioned in the context of this book. Some of them are not even mentioned, yet, certainly any number of playwrights not included here might have been part of this book. Those who gained extensive critical reading are not necessarily superior to the above mentioned playwrights but they are, no doubt, more representative.
Admittedly, the prominent plays should be read to complete the understanding of those playwrights, such as Eugene O'Neill, Clifford Odets, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, and others I choose to discuss in this book. Thus, the 'reading list' is strongly recommended to make sense of changing American theatrical move from adolescence to maturity, with texts that are themselves aspects of those changes. Yet, the reading list should annually be renewed and enriched with different dramatic texts by the authors in question, and other playwrights of American drama.
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