Realism and the American Dramatic Tradition / Edition 1

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Overview

Any review of 20th-century American theatre invariably leads to the term realism. Yet despite the strong tradition of theatrical realism on the American stage, the term is frequently misidentified, and the practices to which it refers are often attacked as monolithically tyrannical, restricting the potential of the American national theatre.
This book reconsiders realism on the American stage by addressing the great variety and richness of the plays that form the American theatre canon. By reconsidering the form and revisiting many of the plays that contributed to the realist tradition, the authors provide the opportunity to apprise strengths often overlooked by previous critics. The volume traces the development of American dramatic realism from James A. Herne, the "American Ibsen," to currently active contemporaries such as Sam Shepard, David Mamet, and Marsha Norman. This frank assessment, in sixteen original essays, reopens a critical dialog too long closed.

Essays include:

•American Dramatic Realisms, Viable Frames of Thought

•The Struggle for the Real--Interpretive Con§ict, Dramatic Method, and the Paradox of Realism

•The Legacy of James A. Herne: American Realities and Realisms

•Whose Realism? Rachel Crothers's Power Struggle in the American Theatre

•The Provincetown Players' Experiments with Realism

•Servant of Three Masters: Realism, Idealism, and "Hokum" in American High Comedy

 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Realism and the American Dramatic Tradition is a valuable, wide-ranging collection, one that is essential reading for anyone interested in the American theatre."
—Matthew C. Roudané, Georgia State University

William Demastes's preface argues lucidly for realism's return to critical respectability, and the essays responding to that issue cover an impressive range of American drama, with some delightful surprises--like the one on the realism of high comedy--thrown in."
—Felicia Londré, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Booknews
Reconsiders realism on the American stage, demonstrating the variety and richness of the plays that form the American theater canon. Traces the development of American dramatic realism from James Herne to active contemporaries including Sam Shepard, David Mamet, and Marsha Norman. Subjects include the Provincetown Players' experiments with realism, feminist realists of the Harlem Renaissance, and Tennessee William's personal lyricism. For students and general readers interested in American theater. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817308377
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Lexile: 1570L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

William W. Demastes is Professor of English at Louisiana State University.

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Table of Contents

Preface: American Dramatic Realisms, Viable Frames of Thought
1 Introduction: The Struggle for the Real - Interpretive Conflict, Dramatic Method, and the Paradox of Realism 1
2 The Legacy of James A. Herne: American Realities and Realisms 18
3 Whose Realism? Rachel Crothers's Power Struggle in the American Theatre 37
4 The Provincetown Players' Experiments with Realism 53
5 Servant of Three Masters: Realism, Idealism, and "Hokum" in American High Comedy 71
6 Remembering the Disremembered: Feminist Realists of the Harlem Renaissance 91
7 Eugene O'Neill and Reality in America 107
8 "Odets, Where Is Thy Sting?" Reassessing the "Playwright of the Proletariat" 123
9 Thornton Wilder, the Real, and Theatrical Realism 139
10 Into the Foxhole: Feminism, Realism, and Lillian Hellman 156
11 Tennessee Williams's "Personal Lyricism": Toward an Androgynous Form 172
12 Arthur Miller: Revisioning Realism 189
13 Margins in the Mainstream: Contemporary Women Playwrights 203
14 The Limits of African-American Political Realism: Baraka's Dutchman and Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom 218
15 Anti-Theatricality and American Ideology: Mamet's Performative Realism 235
16 The Hurlyburly Lies of the Causalist Mind: Chaos and the Realism of Rabe and Shepard 255
Selected Bibliography 275
Contributors 279
Index 283
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