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American feminist playwrights : a critical history

Author: Sally Burke
Publisher: New York : Twayne Publishers ; London : Prentice Hall International, ©1997.
Series: Twayne's critical history of American drama.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"The history of America's feminist playwrights is as old as the history of the nation. Since the incorporation of the United States in the late 1700s, scores of women have dramatized the plight of women in a culture dominated by the interests of its men." "Mercy Otis Warren, a patriot of the Revolution, was not only the country's first woman playwright but also its first feminist playwright. Warren and the  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Burke, Sally.
American feminist playwrights.
New York : Twayne Publishers ; London : Prentice Hall International, ©1997
(OCoLC)683028708
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Sally Burke
ISBN: 0805716203 9780805716207
OCLC Number: 39495906
Description: ix, 270 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Contents: 1.Pioneers and Prototypes: America's First Feminist Playwrights --
2. The Woman Question Onstage --
3. From Boston to Harlem: The Varied Voices --
4. Anticipating the Second Wave --
5. The Second Wave: A Multiplicity of Concerns --
6. Feminisms: The Debate over Realism.
Series Title: Twayne's critical history of American drama.
Responsibility: Sally Burke.

Abstract:

"The history of America's feminist playwrights is as old as the history of the nation. Since the incorporation of the United States in the late 1700s, scores of women have dramatized the plight of women in a culture dominated by the interests of its men." "Mercy Otis Warren, a patriot of the Revolution, was not only the country's first woman playwright but also its first feminist playwright. Warren and the dramatists Susanna Rowson and Anna Cora Mowatt, who followed her in the 19th century, addressed in their plays such feminist concerns as the objectification of women, the silencing of their voices, and their psychological and physical abuse - concerns that continue to appear in the plays of contemporary feminist playwrights." "Burke's study examines works intensely feminist in their message - the suffrage plays of the early women's movement, the social protest dramas of the 1920s and 1930s, the plays advocating equal rights from the late 1960s onward - and those whose feminism seems an almost unintentional part of their content. Lillian Hellman, who professed no special interest in women's issues and disdained discussions of herself as a "woman" playwright, nonetheless addressed in her dramas numerous feminist themes, including women's need for financial independence, the treatment of women as possessions, the crippling effects of male dominance, and society's attitudes toward lesbianism." "In the latter half of the 20th century a number of feminist playwrights integrated into their dramatic consciousness an awareness of racism. Since 1949, when Alice Childress produced her one-act play Florence, such dramatists as Lorraine Hansberry, Adrienne Kennedy, and Ntozake Shange have exposed the insidious effects of racism and sexism on the lives of black women." "At the core of Burke's examination of all of the playwrights she discusses is the belief that there is no one, "correct" kind of feminism. "Theorists now speak of diversity within feminism," Burke writes, "of feminisms." But whatever the distinctions in their underlying philosophies or their blueprints for change, American feminist playwrights since Mercy Otis Warren have shared their refusal both to "live by disabling definitions that mark women as inferior" and to "represent women onstage by such definitions." Mourning those women whose lives have been irreparably damaged by the oppressions of a male-dominated culture, they celebrate the persistent spirit that continues to challenge and remake it."--BOOK JACKET.

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