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Realism and the American Dramatic Tradition
edited by William W. Demastes
University of Alabama Press, 1996
Paper: 978-0-8173-0837-7

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK

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



 
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

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

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • Contents 
    • Preface: American Dramatic Realisms, Viable Frames of Thought
      • Demastes, William W.
    • 1. 
    • Introduction: The Struggle for the Real—Interpretive Conflict, Dramatic Method, and the Paradox of Realism
      • Richardson, Brian
    • 2. 
    • The Legacy of James A. Herne: American Realities and Realisms
      • Denison, Patricia D.
    • 3. 
    • Whose Realism? Rachel Crothers's Power Struggle in the American Theatre
      • Shafer, Yvonne
    • 4. 
    • The Provincetown Players' Experiments with Realism
      • Gainor, J. Ellen
    • 5. 
    • Servant of Three Masters: Realism, Idealism, and “Hokum” in American High Comedy
      • Gross, Robert F.
    • 6. 
    • Remembering the Disremembered: Feminist Realists of the Harlem Renaissance
      • Schroeder, Patricia R.
    • 7. 
    • Eugene O'Neill and Reality in America
      • Cunningham, Frank R.
    • 8. 
    • “Odets, Where Is Thy Sting?” Reassessing the “Playwright of the Proletariat”
      • Frick, John W.
    • 9. 
    • Thornton Wilder, the Real, and Theatrical Realism
      • Wheatley, Christopher J.
    • 10. 
    • Into the Foxhole: Feminism, Realism, and Lillian Hellman
      • Barlow, Judith E.
    • 11. 
    • Tennessee Williams's “Personal Lyricism”: Toward an Androgynous Form
      • Adler, Thomas P.
    • 12. 
    • Arthur Miller: Revisioning Realism
      • Murphy, Brenda
    • 13. 
    • Margins in the Mainstream: Contemporary Women Playwrights
      • Haedicke, Janet V.
    • 14. 
    • The Limits of African-American Political Realism: Baraka's Dutchman and Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
      • Bergesen, Eric
      • Demastes, William W.
    • 15. 
    • Anti-Theatricality and American Ideology: Mamet's Performative Realism
      • Quinn, Michael L.
    • 16. 
    • The Hurlyburly Lies of the Causalist Mind: Chaos and the Realism of Rabe and Shepard
      • Demastes, William W.
      • Heuvel, Michael Vanden
    • Selected Bibliography
    • Contributors
    • Index



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