The Routledge Introduction to American Drama  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Introduction to American Drama

ISBN 9780367696535
Published June 29, 2022 by Routledge
214 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

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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.