With the past decade rich in theatrical achievement, a revision of this 1985 standard is more than welcome. The Survey includes 240 critical articles on significant English-language dramatists, 22 of whom appear for the first time (e.g., Wendy Wasserstein). A third (77) of the essays have been revised to reflect the current status of the playwright, and brand-new 5000-word essays replace the originals for writers who have far surpassed their professional achievements of ten years ago (e.g., Tom Stoppard, David Mamet). Almost every notable dramatist can be found here, with few exceptions (e.g., Jules Feiffer, Langston Hughes), although monologists (e.g., Eric Bogosian) and certain "hot" playwrights (e.g., Tony Kushner) are excluded. All essays include updated, annotated bibliographies (the 1985 bibliographies are unannotated) and biographical data, as required. The set concludes with 23 excellent, comprehensive overview essays on such topics as television drama and staging and production, and there is also a glossary of dramatic terms and movements. Librarians will appreciate the breadth and compactness of this set, as compared with the well-written but scattered drama volumes of the Dictionary of Literary Biography (Gale, irregular) or the primarily biographical Contemporary Dramatists (St. James, 1993). Selectors working with tight budgets should give first consideration to this set, but they should be mindful that two-thirds of the author entries do not contain meaningful textual emendations and that the bibliographies overlap significantly between editions. Those caveats aside, most libraries will want to purchase this edition, if only for the new entries. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.-Anthony J. Adam, Prairie View A&M Univ. Lib., Tex.
Updating and expanding the original edition of 1985, this revised set contains a total of 263 articles: 240 on individual dramatists (including 29 updated articles on English-language dramatists from the 1987 Supplement to the Critical Survey of Drama), plus 23 comprehensive overview essays. One-third (77) of the essays on individual dramatists are fully revised, while 22 new playwright entries include both dramatists who were originally omitted and dramatists whose professional achievements now so far outstrip their work as of 1985 that completely new entries were required. The 23 revised overview essays examine dramatic genres, the origins and development of the genre (over time and across the English-speaking world), and subgenres such as musical, experimental, radio, and television drama. They also include an annotated bibliography of drama history and criticism, and a glossary entitled "Dramatic Terms and Movements." Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)