1st Edition

The Routledge Introduction to American Drama

By Paul Thifault Copyright 2022
    214 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    214 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume provides an accessible and engaging guide to the study of American dramatic literature. Designed to support students in reading, discussing, and writing about commonly assigned American plays, this text offers timely resources to think critically and originally about key moments on the American stage.

    Combining comprehensive coverage of the core plays from the post-Revolutionary era to the present, each chapter includes:

    • historical and cultural context of each of the plays and their distinctive literary features
    • clear introductions to the ongoing critical debates they have provoked
    • collaborative prompts for classroom or online discussion
    • annotated bibliographies for further research

    With its accessible prose style and clear structure, this introduction spotlights specific plays while encouraging students to contemplate timely questions of American identity across its selected span of US theatrical history.

    Chapter 1: The Contrast (1787) by Royall Tyler

    Chapter 2: André (1798) by William Dunlap

    Chapter 3: The Indian Princess (1808) by James Nelson Barker

    Chapter 4: Fashion; Or, Life in New York (1845) by Anna Cora Mowatt

    Chapter 5: The Octoroon; or, Life in Louisiana (1859) by Dion Boucicault

    Chapter 6: Margaret Fleming (1890) by James A. Herne

    Chapter 7: Trifles (1916) by Susan Glaspell

    Chapter 8: The Children’s Hour (1934) by Lillian Hellman

    Chapter 9: Our Town (1938) by Thornton Wilder

    Chapter 10: A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) by Tennessee Williams

    Chapter 11: Death of a Salesman (1949) by Arthur Miller

    Chapter 12: Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1956) by Eugene O’Neill

    Chapter 13: A Raisin in the Sun (1959) by Lorraine Hansberry

    Chapter 14: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962) by Edward Albee

    Chapter 15: Funnyhouse of a Negro (1964) by Adrienne Kennedy

    Chapter 16: Fences (1985) by August Wilson

    Chapter 17: Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (1993-94) by Tony


    Chapter 18: Sisters Matsumoto (1998) by Philip Kan Gotanda

    Chapter 19: Topdog/Underdog (2002) by Suzan-Lori Parks

    Chapter 20: Water by the Spoonful (2012) by Quiara Alegría Hudes

    Chapter 21: An Octoroon (2014) by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins


    Paul Thifault, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English at Springfield College in Massachusetts, where he teaches courses on US drama, early American literature, and Native American literature. With Nancy Sweet, he edits Resources for American Literary Study, a long-running journal of archival and bibliographical scholarship on all periods of American literature.