Library JournalSince at least the late 1960s, the term WASP has often been used in a derogatory manner to refer to the blandness, if not repressive tendencies, of the traditionally dominant American culture. In recent literary study, significant and deserved attention has been devoted to the "emerging" literary voices of racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. Perhaps, as our sense of diversity and multiculturalism matures, and as the WASP cultural dominance recedes, we can now read and study the work of white, heterosexual, Anglo-Saxon Protestant male writers as reflective of one of many literary viewpoints present in contemporary American culture. If so, within the dramatic genre the preeminent voice since the early 1970s has been that of Gurney, whose plays probe the issues and realities of mostly upper-middle-class American life, particularly between family members. Although these plays are frequently satirical, the satire is from the inside, making it both more effective and more realistic. These volumes comprise 13 plays, including three of Gurney's most frequently performed works: The Cocktail Hour and Love Letters (both 1988), and Sylvia (1995), whose eponymous talking dog is an exception to the predominant realism of Gurney's oeuvre. His best work belongs in all academic, public, and high school libraries. These editions are a bit pricey, but they offer convenient collections of essential playwrights.--Robert W. Melton, Univ. of Kansas Libs., Lawrence Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Plays are: Ancestral Voices, Darlene and the Guest Lecturer, Labor Day, Far East and Sylvia.
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