William Inge and the Subversion of Gender

Rewriting Stereotypes in the Plays, Novels, and Screenplays

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About the Book

Inspired by a meeting with Tennessee Williams, American playwright William Inge found success early, winning a Pulitzer for drama and an Academy Award for best screenplay. His small-town upbringing profoundly influenced his writing, and one of his major recurring themes was the traditional roles of gender.
This close study of Inge’s work focuses particularly on his technique of “gendermandering,” patterns of gender-role reversals which Inge exploits not only for dramatic effect but also to subvert social expectations. Fully considered are stereotypes and established gender roles, especially as they were reinforced socially during the 1940s and 1950s. The author concentrates largely on material that is strictly Inge’s, not adaptations or collaborations, and on work that has been published and is readily available to the general public. All major plays; a collection of his short plays; the screenplay of Splendor in the Grass (1961); and his novel Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff are covered.
Some of Inge’s more inaccessible material, including a few short published plays as well as some of the unpublished manuscripts held in the Inge Collection at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas, is also addressed.

About the Author(s)

Jeff Johnson is a playwright and teacher. Recipient of numerous awards, he is the author of four previous books on theater and cinema. He lives in Indialantic, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Jeff Johnson
Foreword by Jackson R. Bryer
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2062-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8098-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Foreword      1
Preface      7

1. Stereotypes, Gender Roles and Gendermandering      11
2. The Critics      26
3. Major Works: Come Back, Little Sheba; Picnic; Bus Stop; The Dark at the Top of the Stairs; Splendor in the Grass      49
4. Minor Works: A Loss of Roses; Natural Affection; Where’s Daddy?; Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff      103
5. Short Plays      142

Bibliography      185
Index      189