This text tells the fascinating story of American identity formation through the nation’s unique staged narratives. Divided into seven historical periods, it provides overviews of 38 American plays and their reception, from Robert Hunter’s Androboros (c.1714) to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton (2015). Each historical section begins with an overseas play which proved significantly influential to American playwrights in that period, such as Sheridan’s The School for Scandal (1777), demonstrating an astonishing dialogue taking place across the Atlantic.Exploring themes such as Indian removal, the slavery question, modern women and the American dream, this text challenges the popular assumptions that American playwrights wrote inside of a vacuum of national self-consciousness, and especially that American drama had no life worth consideration before the early twentieth century. It provides the student of American drama with a unique vantage point over three hundred years of American plays as well as their remarkable engagement with texts from across the Atlantic.
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