Staging Masculinity

Male Identity in Contemporary American Drama


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About the Book

The men in plays such as Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman or Sam Shephard’s True West are often presented as universal; little attention is given to the gender dynamics involved in the characters. This work looks at how contemporary playwrights, including Miller, Shepard, Eugene O’Neill, David Mamet, and August Wilson, stage masculinity in their works. It becomes apparent that male playwrights return often to the issues of troubled manhood, usually masked in other issues such as war, business or family. The plays indicate both the attractiveness of the model of traditional masculinity and the illusive nature of this image, which all too often fractures and fails the characters who pursue it. O’Neill’s play The Hairy Ape and the character Yank receive much attention.

About the Author(s)

Professor of English Carla J. McDonough lives in Statesboro, Georgia.

Bibliographic Details

Carla J. McDonough
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 192
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006 [1997]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2736-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      iv

Introduction      1

1: Masculinity and Performance      5

2: Canonical Forefathers      19

3: Sam Shepard: The Eternal Patriarchal Return      35

4: David Mamet: The Search for Masculine Space      71

5: David Rabe: Men Under Fire      103

6: August Wilson: Performing Black Masculinity      133

7: Other Voices, Other Men: Reinventing Masculinity      161

Bibliography      171

Index      181

Book Reviews & Awards

“a critical resource for those interested in a vitally important aspect of the theater of the late 20th century”—Choice; “an examination of contemporary male playwrights detailing issues of manhood as they appear in the plays from a postmodern, gendered theoretical perspective”—Reference & Research Book News.