The Routledge Anthology of US Drama: 1898-1949

The Routledge Anthology of US Drama: 1898-1949


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The first half of the Twentieth Century was a vibrant period for U.S. theatre. As the United States emerged as a significant military, economic, political and cultural power, so its theatre began to distinguish itself from the prevailing European model. The plays and dramatic texts in this anthology demonstrate the vital and volatile relationship between U.S. theatre, its society, and the ways in which that theatre has both supported and challenged prevailing systems of thought and action.

This collection is organized around key thematic perspectives from colonialism to psychoanalysis, viewing the artistic output of this era through the socio-political events and controversies that shaped it. Each play is accompanied by a critical commentary from a leading scholar and a set of archive source materials, including playbills, production shots, reviews, essays, poems, newspaper articles and official documents. These supplements bring to life the rich and diverse theatre cultures that operated in the United States during this period and explore the essential ways that these cultural artifacts engaged with the national debates that surrounded them.

The plays themselves both support and challenge the existing canon of U.S. dramatic literature; a selection that speaks not only to aesthetic innovation, but also to the critical moments of political change and national definition that helped to shape the United States. From Miller, Williams and O’Neill to Angelina Grimké, David Belasco and Mae West, this is the ideal collection for any course in U.S. theatre.