2144 - Mid-Twentieth Century American Drama: Five Masterpieces from Long Day's Journey Into Night to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Much as the mid-twentieth century was an outstanding period for drama in Europe, it was also an outstanding period for drama in the United States, with formal innovation and thematic depth that remain the hallmarks of contemporary American drama at its best. This course centers on five key American plays from 1942 to 1962 that can each be aptly described as a masterpiece: Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night, Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, and Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Students will read one play every two weeks, and evening film screenings will be arranged. While some attention will be paid to literary, theatrical, and cultural contexts, class discussions will focus on thematic concerns such as race, memory, capitalism, fantasy (especially versus realism), and redemption, with special emphasis on gender, domesticity, and family. Lecture (plus questions). Facilitated Discussion.
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