Faculty Members Publish August Wilson Volume

Friday, May 8, 2009

Congratulations to Cynthia Caywood and Carlton Floyd upon the April, 2009 publication of August Wilson, a special issue of College Literature devoted to the works of the great African-American playwright.  The volume, co-edited with Marilyn Elkins, of California State, Los Angeles, includes essays by a variety of August Wilson scholars, including Caywood and Floyd.

The following is excerpted from the introduction:

"While the slave narratives, spirituals, blues and migration narratives record the dispossession and dispersion of African Americans, none bears greater witness than the work of August Wilson.  Wilson’s plays combine the traditions of the Hill, an African American neighborhood in Pittsburgh, with those of ancient Greece, giving us American kings and queens whose lost heritage haunts their present lives.  With a play set in each decade of the twentieth century, Wilson begins with Gem of the Ocean (set in 1904), focusing on how a former Underground Railroad guide and a female Griot established the Hill, and closes with Radio Golf (set in 1997), portraying how white investors underwrote the Hill’s gentrification. . . . Writing for a little more than two decades, Wilson created what Frank Rich, the critic for The New York Times, has termed the greatest epic of American theatre. . . . "

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