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An indispensable guide to the dramatic work of one of America's most important contemporary playwrights

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Copyright © 2004, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.


Pulitzer-prizewinning playwright August Wilson, author of Fences, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and The Piano Lesson, among other dramatic works, is one of the most well respected American playwrights on the contemporary stage. The founder of the Black Horizon Theater Company, his self-defined dramatic project is to review twentieth-century African American history by creating a play for each decade.
Theater scholar and critic Harry J. Elam examines Wilson's published plays within the context of contemporary African American literature and in relation to concepts of memory and history, culture and resistance, race and representation. Elam finds that each of Wilson's plays recaptures narratives lost, ignored, or avoided to create a new experience of the past that questions the historical categories of race and the meanings of blackness.
Harry J. Elam, Jr. is Professor of Drama at Stanford University and author of Taking It to the Streets: The Social Protest Theater of Luis Valdez and Amiri Baraka (The University of Michigan Press).

Harry Justin Elam, Jr. , is Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities and Professor of Drama at Stanford University. He is author of Taking It to the Streets: The Social Protest Theater of Luis Valdez and Amiri Baraka and co-editor of Black Cultural Traffic: Crossroads in Global Performance and Popular Culture and African American Performance and Theater History: A Critical Reader.

Winner: American Society of Theatre Research (ASTR) 2006 Distinguished Scholar Award

- ASTR Distinguished Scholar Award

Winner: American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) 2005 Errol Hill Award 

- ASTR Errol Hill Award