This timely collection addresses the neglected state of scholarship on southern women dramatists by bringing together the latest criticism on some of the most important playwrights of the 20th century.
Coeditors Robert McDonald and Linda Rohrer Paige attribute the neglect of southern women playwrights in scholarly criticism to "deep historical prejudices" against drama itself and against women artists in general, especially in the South. Their call for critical awareness is answered by the 15 essays they include in Southern Women Playwrights, considerations of the creative work of universally acclaimed playwrights such as Beth Henley, Marsha Norman, and Lillian Hellman (the so-called "Trinity") in addition to that of less-studied playwrights, including Zora Neale Hurston, Carson McCullers, Alice Childress, Naomi Wallace, Amparo Garcia, Paula Vogel, and Regina Porter.
This collection springs from a series of associated questions regarding the literary and theatrical heritage of the southern woman playwright, the unique ways in which southern women have approached the conventional modes of comedy and tragedy, and the ways in which the South, its types and stereotypes, its peculiarities, its traditions-both literary and cultural-figure in these women's plays. Especially relevant to these questions are essays on Lillian Hellman, who resisted the label "southern writer," and Carson McCullers, who never attempted to ignore her southernness.
This book begins by recovering little-known or unknown episodes in the history of southern drama and by examining the ways plays assumed importance in the lives of southern women in the early 20th century. It concludes with a look at one of the most vibrant, diverse theatre scenes outside New York today-Atlanta.
CHAPTER ONE FIRST SIGHTS-LASTING IMPRESSIONS 1 Elite Africans'in Europe to 1650 3 Enslaved Africans in Europe 6 Discovering Europeans in Africa 10 Southeast Africa, 1589-1635 16 Kongo Cosmology 18 CHAPTER TWO POLITICS AND RELIGION 24 The Meanings of Religious Conversion 26 Benin and Warri 29 The Kingdom of Kongo 33 Swahili and Mutapa 39 Ethiopia 41 Conclusion 45 CHAPTER THREE COMMERCE AND CULTURE 50 African Trading Strategies 51 The Eighteenth Century 56 Language, Trade, and Culture 59 Sexual Encounters 64 Conclusion 69 CHAPTER FOUR ATLANTIC IMPORTS AND TECHNOLOGY 77 Evaluating Inland Trade 78 Textiles and Metals 82 Tobacco and Distilled Spirits 87 Guns and Politics 90 Economic and Social Consequences 98 CHAPTER FIVE PASSAGES IN SLAVERY 107 Capture in Africa 110 The Middle Passage 113 New Identities 122 Creolization 125 Africanization 129 Conclusion 135 CHAPTER SIX AFRICANS IN EUROPE, I650-I850 141 African Delegates and Students 144 Servants High and Low in Continental Europe 149 Anglo-Africans 155 Scholars and Churchmen 166 Concluding Observations 176