More than thirty years after it was written, the autobiography of Carson McCullers, Illumination and Night Glare, will be published for the first time. McCullers, one of the most gifted writers of her generation—the author of Member of the Wedding, Reflections in a Golden Eye, and The Ballad of Sad Cafe—died of a stroke at the age of fifty before finishing this, her last manuscript. Editor Carlos L. Dews has faithfully brought her story back to life, complete with never-before-published letters between McCullers and her husband Reeves, and an outline of her most famous novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.
Looking back over her life from a precocious childhood in Georgia to her painful decline from a series of crippling strokes, McCullers offers poignant and unabashed remembrances of her early writing success, her family attachments, a troubled marriage to a failed writer, and friendships with literary and film luminaries (Gypsy Rose Lee, Richard Wright, Isak Dinesen, John Huston, Marilyn Monroe), and the intense relationships of the important women in her life.
This timely collection addresses the neglected state of scholarship on southern women dramatists by bringing together the latest criticism on some of the most important playwrights of the 20th century.
Coeditors Robert McDonald and Linda Rohrer Paige attribute the neglect of southern women playwrights in scholarly criticism to "deep historical prejudices" against drama itself and against women artists in general, especially in the South. Their call for critical awareness is answered by the 15 essays they include in Southern Women Playwrights, considerations of the creative work of universally acclaimed playwrights such as Beth Henley, Marsha Norman, and Lillian Hellman (the so-called "Trinity") in addition to that of less-studied playwrights, including Zora Neale Hurston, Carson McCullers, Alice Childress, Naomi Wallace, Amparo Garcia, Paula Vogel, and Regina Porter.
This collection springs from a series of associated questions regarding the literary and theatrical heritage of the southern woman playwright, the unique ways in which southern women have approached the conventional modes of comedy and tragedy, and the ways in which the South, its types and stereotypes, its peculiarities, its traditions-both literary and cultural-figure in these women's plays. Especially relevant to these questions are essays on Lillian Hellman, who resisted the label "southern writer," and Carson McCullers, who never attempted to ignore her southernness.
This book begins by recovering little-known or unknown episodes in the history of southern drama and by examining the ways plays assumed importance in the lives of southern women in the early 20th century. It concludes with a look at one of the most vibrant, diverse theatre scenes outside New York today-Atlanta.