August Wilson

August Wilson : Completing the Twentieth-Century Cycle

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Description

Just prior to his death in 2005, August Wilson, arguably the most important American playwright of the last quarter-century, completed an ambitious cycle of ten plays, each set in a different decade of the twentieth century. Known as the Twentieth-Century Cycle or the Pittsburgh Cycle, the plays, which portrayed the struggles of African Americans, won two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama, a Tony Award for Best Play, and seven New York Drama Critics Circle Awards. "August Wilson: Completing the Twentieth-Century Cycle" is the first volume devoted to the last five plays of the cycle individually - Jitney, Seven Guitars, King Hedley II, Gem of the Ocean, and Radio Golf - and in the context of Wilson's entire body of work. Editor Alan Nadel's "May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama of August Wilson", a work Henry Louis Gates called definitive, focused on the first five plays of Wilson's cycle. This new collection examines from myriad perspectives the way Wilson's final works give shape and focus to his complete dramatic opus. It contains an outstanding and diverse array of discussions from leading Wilson scholars and literary critics. Together, the essays in Nadel's two volumes give Wilson's work the breadth of analysis and understanding that this major figure of American drama merits.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 248 pages
  • 154 x 234 x 18mm | 358.34g
  • University of Iowa Press
  • Iowa, United States
  • English
  • 1587298759
  • 9781587298752

Review quote

"In this companion to "May All Your Fences Have Gates, " we have a timely addition to the growing scholarship on August Wilson's works. The focus on the second half of the cycle presents certain problems, not least of which stem from the fact that Wilson's plays were written 'out of order, ' simultaneously pointing forward and looking back. In less capable hands, this aspect might be ignored and the plays studied decade by decade, in a linear fashion. This volume does not fall into that trap. Instead, Nadel and his colleagues address the location of each play within the larger context of the cycle, for the second half of the cycle and the entire collection alike. As a result, we see that almost any theme or motif within a single text finds echoes and reverberations in other plays, thus affording us a view of Wilson's overall scheme and challenging future scholarship of any single play to embrace this holistic view of the cycle. No longer is it enough to say that Wilson wrote a play or In this companion to "May All Your Fences Have Gates, " we have a timely addition to the growing scholarship on August Wilson s works. The focus on the second half of the cycle presents certain problems, not least of which stem from the fact that Wilson s plays were written out of order, simultaneously pointing forward and looking back. In less capable hands, this aspect might be ignored and the plays studied decade by decade, in a linear fashion. This volume does not fall into that trap. Instead, Nadel and his colleagues address the location of each play within the larger context of the cycle, for the second half of the cycle and the entire collection alike. As a result, we see that almost any theme or motif within a single text finds echoes and reverberations in other plays, thus affording us a view of Wilson s overall scheme and challenging future scholarship of any single play to embrace this holistic view of the cycle. No longer is it enough to say that Wilson wrote a play or plays: whenever we consider any of his plays we have to acknowledge the cycle. This book ensures that perspective, one that is unique in the history of dramatic literature. Kim Pereira, author, "August Wilson and the African-American Odyssey"" " " "In this carefully crafted volume, Alan Nadel pairs a variety of essays on the plays of August Wilson's century cycle. Among the many strengths of this collection is that the selections are well connected thematically without being repetitive and that the diverse interpretations are presented in a language and style that are easily accessible, even for general readers. At the same time, the multiplicity of meanings that can be derived from careful readings of the social, cultural, and historical contexts of the cycle will satisfy the most critical scholars." Sandra Adell, author, "Double-Consciousness/Double Bind: Theoretical Issues in Twentieth-Century Black Literature""" "show more

About Herman Beavers

Alan Nadel is the Bryan Chair of American Literature and Culture at the University of Kentucky, where he teaches literature and film. He is the editor of May All Your Fences Have Gates (IOWA 1993) and the author of Invisible Criticism: Ralph Ellison and the American Canon (IOWA 1991), Containment Culture: American Narratives, Postmodernism, and the Atomic Age, Flatlining on the Field of Dreams: Cultural Narratives in the Films of President Reagan's America, and Television in Black and White America: Race and National Identity.show more

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