About the Book
In the 1920s, the playwright Sidney Howard and his wife, actress Clare Eames, were at the heart of the movement to change the American theater from a commercial
enterprise to one with art at its center. Sidney gained fame writing They Knew What They Wanted (which won the Pulitzer Prize) in 1924. A dramatist for the Theatre Guild, he wrote Ned McCobb’s Daughter and The Silver Cord and became the voice of American theater’s fight against censorship. Energetic and ambitious Clare played some of the greatest dramatic roles for women, including Queen Elizabeth, Lady MacBeth, and Hedda Gabler. For a time, Sidney and Clare were an ideal couple, collaborating on dramas and drawing admirers in both England and America.
This dual biography illuminates the growth of the American art theater, gives intimate details into the work of the couple, and reveals a glamorous doomed romance. The letters interspersed throughout the text detail the couple’s thoughts on the artistic process, acting, writing, and the social and theatrical circles in which they moved. Including many letters and reviews from the era, this study describes Sidney and Clare’s relationships, careers, and the dramatic disintegration of their marriage, set against the background of one of the most artistically fertile periods of American drama.
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