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Shenandoah Representative Plays by American Dramatists: 1856-1911   By: (1842-1908)

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Shenandoah Representative Plays by American Dramatists: 1856-1911 is a comprehensive collection of plays that provides readers with a glimpse into the rich history of American drama during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Compiled by the esteemed playwright Bronson Howard, this anthology showcases a selection of influential works that have stood the test of time.

One of the standout features of this book is its inclusion of plays that represent various genres, themes, and writing styles from this period. From romantic comedies to gripping tragedies, readers are treated to a diverse range of narratives that captivate and engage. Whether you are a theater enthusiast, a scholar, or simply a lover of literature, there is something for everyone within these pages.

The book's contents are organized chronologically, giving readers the opportunity to explore the evolution of American drama over this 55-year span. This structure allows for an appreciation of how societal changes, historical events, and the cultural milieu influenced the work of these American dramatists. It is fascinating to witness the shifting themes and styles, as well as the emergence of playwrights who would later become major figures in American theater.

While it is impossible to delve into every single play included in this collection, there are some noteworthy highlights worth mentioning. For instance, our introduction to the renowned work of Bronson Howard himself is a treat. His play "Shenandoah" not only lends its name to the collection but also stands as a testament to his skillful storytelling and mastery of dramatic structure.

Other plays worth exploring include Edward Harrigan's "The Mulligan Guard Picnic," which offers a humorous portrayal of working-class New York life, and Clyde Fitch's "The Moth and the Flame," a poignant tale of forbidden love and its consequences. These plays, among others, exemplify the creativity and depth that American dramatists brought to the stage during this era.

Despite the book's many merits, it is worth noting that the language and theatrical conventions of this period can feel somewhat dated to modern readers. Some may find the ornate prose and elaborate stage directions challenging to navigate. However, this can be seen as an opportunity to reflect on the historical context of these plays and how the art of theater has evolved over time.

In conclusion, Shenandoah Representative Plays by American Dramatists: 1856-1911 is an important and valuable collection that showcases the best of American drama from this period. Bronson Howard's compilation offers a glimpse into the artistic, cultural, and historical landscape of the time, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of the era's theatrical achievements. Whether you're a theater enthusiast, a scholar, or simply curious about the origins of American theater, this anthology is a worthy addition to your library.

First Page:



[Illustration: BRONSON HOWARD]


(1842 1908)

The present Editor has just read through some of the vivacious correspondence of Bronson Howard a sheaf of letters sent by him to Brander Matthews during a long intercourse. The time thus spent brings sharply to mind the salient qualities of the man his nobility of character, his soundness of mind, his graciousness of manner, and his thorough understanding of the dramatic tools of his day and generation. To know Bronson Howard was to be treated to just that human quality which he put into even his hastily penned notes and, as in conversation with him, so in his letters there are repeated flashes of sage comment and of good native wit. Not too often can we make the plea for the gathering and preserving of such material. Autobiography, after all, is what biography ought to be it is the live portrait by the side of which a mere appreciative sketch fades. I have looked through the "Memorial" volume to Bronson Howard, issued by the American Dramatists Club (1910), and read the well tempered estimates, the random reminiscences. But these do not recall the Bronson Howard known to me, as to so many others who gleams so charmingly in this correspondence. Bronson Howard's plays may not last "Fantine," "Saratoga," "Diamonds," "Moorcraft," "Lillian's Last Love" these are mere names in theatre history, and they are very out of date on the printed page... Continue reading book >>

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