August Wilson.

Position:Book review

Alan Nadel (editor); AUGUST WILSON; University of Iowa Press (Literary Criticism) $29.95 ISBN: 9781587298752

Ten plays. Ten decades. This is August Wilsonas legacy. Wilson, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, is considered the greatest American playwright of the last half of the twentieth century. In [i]August Wilson: Completing the Twentieth-Century Cycle[/i], editor Alan Nadel has brought together a series of essays which recognize Wilsonas cycle of ten plays as a structural and thematic unit. This collection also invites those familiar or soon to be familiar with Wilsonas work to visit and revisit the plays in the century cycle.

The fourteen essays in this volume focus on pivotal plays to reveal how themes, references, issues, and characters are woven throughout the cycle. Nadel introduces this idea of unity in the opening essay, aBeginning Again, Again: Business in the Street in [i]Jitney and Gem of the Ocean[/i].a The remaining essays are arranged so that the discussion developed in one works with the ideas in others. This happens quite effectively in the essays by Stephen C. Tracy, Donald E. Pease, and Soyica Diggs Colbert which focus on [i]Seven Guitars[/i] and [i]King Hedley II[/i] since these plays were conceived as a unit by Wilson. However, this arrangement also works when essays connect thematically. The essays by Sandra B. Shannon, Vivian Gist Spencer...

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