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By Susan Harris Smith

During this e-book, Susan Harris Smith seems to be on the many frequently conflicting cultural and educational purposes for the forget and dismissal of yank drama as a sound literary shape. masking a variety of subject matters comparable to theatrical functionality, the increase of nationalist feeling, the construction of educational disciplines, and the advance of sociology, Smith's examine is a contentious and revisionist old inquiry into the bothered cultural and canonical prestige of yank drama, either as a literary style and as a reflect of yank society.

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Howe with the pre-Civil War rise of romantic drama that paralleled the rise of other forms of romantic literature, and addresses the attempts of Twain, Harte, and Howells to write plays as an index of their regard for and attachment to the drama. For instance, Howells published his short farces about domestic and social values in Atlantic Monthly, Harpers Weekly, and Harpers Magazine and wrote essays on the drama from his editorial position. As far as Quinn is concerned, Howells was unsurpassed in the writing of English language farces, but "the fact that the one-act plays of Howells were acted chiefly by amateurs has obscured their significance" (66-67).

Those few literary histories that do include the drama radically limit coverage. Out of 764 pages in Russell Blankenship's American Literature as an Expression of the National Mind (1949), only fifteen concern drama. Marcus Cunliffe in The Literature of the United States (1954) devotes a seventeen-page chapter to white male playwrights, beginning with what he terms the "bastard art-form" of the nineteenth century, but half the chapter is devoted to O'Neill. In Leon Howard's Literature and the American Tradition (i960), which spans the years from 1608 to 1956 in three hundred pages, six pages in the epilogue are given to brief mention of seven white male playwrights writing in the twenties and thirties (Odets, O'Neill, Anderson, Lawson, Rice, Saroyan, and Wilder).

In TriQuarterly magazine's special issue, "Twenty Years of the Best Contemporary Writing and Graphics" (Spring/Summer 1985), there is no drama. The New Criterion's special issue, "The Arts in America, 19451985" (Summer 1985), ignores the drama. " A striking exception to this bleak situation is The Kenyon Review, which in the last few years, despite a preponderance of poetry and fiction, nonetheless has published almost one play per issue and has devoted an entire issue (Spring 1993) to the theatre.

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