Providing a detailed study of American playwright August Wilson (1945–2005), this collection of new essays explores the development of the author’s ethos across his twenty-five-year creative career—a process that transformed his life as he retraced the lives of his fellow “Africans in America.” While Wilson’s narratives of Pittsburgh and Chicago are microcosms of black life in America, they also reflect the psychological trauma of his disconnection with his biological father, his impassioned efforts to discover and reconnect with the blues, with Africa and with poet/activist Amiri Baraka, and his love for the vernacular of Pittsburgh.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
Edited by Sandra G. Shannon
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2016
“The emancipated century”: Remapping History, Reclaiming Memory in August Wilson’s Dramatic Landscapes of the 20th Century—Joyce Hope Scott 15
“A big bend there, a tree by the shore”: Situated Identity in The Janitor—Jacqueline Zeff 39
Two Trains Running: Bridging Diana Taylor’s “rift” and Narrating Manning Marable’s “living history”—Sarah Saddler and Paul Bryant-Jackson 49
World War II History/history: Essential Contexts in Seven Guitars—Ellen Bonds 60
The Use of Stereotype and Archetype in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom—Michael Downing 76
Gem of the Ocean’s Fugitive Movements—Isaiah Matthew Wooden 88
Reclaiming the Mother: Women, Documents and the Condition of the Mother in Gem of the Ocean and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom—Jesslyn Collins-Frohlich 101
A Century Lacking Progress: The Fractured Community in Gem of the Ocean and King Hedley II—Christopher B. Bell 117
“He gonna give me my ham”: The Use of Food as a Symbol for Social Justice—Psyche Williams-Forson 128
Resurrecting “phantom limb[s] of the dismembered slave and god”: Unveiling the Africanisms in Gem of the Ocean—Artisia Green 142
Epiphany and the “drama of souls”—Owen Seda 164
Conjuring Africa in August Wilson’s Plays—Connie Rapoo 175
Re-Evaluating the Legacy of the Ten-Play Cycle—Susan C.W. Abbotson 187
About the Contributors 203
“a clearly written, thoroughly researched, and engaging volume that will resonate with teachers, students, and artists…ideal for a classroom setting…powerfully captures Wilson’s agency as a black male writer, his brilliance as an orator, and his deeply rooted concern for the collective well-being of African Americans”—Theatre Topics.