Download American Drama: The Bastard Art by Susan Harris Smith PDF

By Susan Harris Smith

During this e-book, Susan Harris Smith seems on the many usually conflicting cultural and educational purposes for the overlook and dismissal of yank drama as a valid literary shape. masking quite a lot of themes resembling theatrical functionality, the increase of nationalist feeling, the production of educational disciplines, and the improvement of sociology, Smith's examine is a contentious and revisionist old inquiry into the bothered cultural and canonical prestige of yank drama, either as a literary style and as a reflect of yankee society.

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Extra resources for American Drama: The Bastard Art

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Percy Boynton's assessment in 1936 is characteristic of the early reception of O'Neill; Boynton praises O'Neill for continuing "to dream the Greek dream in modern terms" (828). At this point, it might seem like ungrateful carping to complain about any literary history that actually does deign to notice the drama, but those that are to some degree responsible about including the drama narrowly segregate it from the rest of American literature. Robert Spiller's The Cycle of American Literature (1955), a consideration of major writers in their LITERARY HISTORY 41 historical context, makes an attempt to explain the lack of experimentation and originality in drama before 1920 by citing the commercial emphasis of the theatre and the dominance of Broadway spectacles.

Cant I wait at the aoor for you ? " 14 No, that would make me Ward paces the block waiting for her to come out. The house tliat Jerry enters is

This pattern of exclusion reflects the critics' constant refrain that American drama before Eugene O'Neill was, in Howard Mumford Jones's term, "subliterary," or in Eric Bentley's words, "almost moronic" (Jones "Orphan" 158; Bentley "Chronicle" 416). Even the inclusion of O'Neill in the American canon as the foremost of American dramatists often comes with a caveat. Edmund Wilson, reviewing American literature in 1926, remarked, "as for the dramatists, there is still only O'Neill who . . " Of the others writing during the preceding fifteen years, Wilson says that "they forget critical standards in their devotion to the great common cause - the cause of an American national literature in independence of English literature, and of the contemporary American mind as against the mind of the last generation" (158-59).

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