Tag Archives: Plays

Poe, Edgar Allan

POE, EDGAR ALLAN (1809-1849). Edgar Allan Poe, best known for his tales of Gothic horror, was a writer of poetry, short and long fiction, an unfinished drama, criticism, literary theory, essays, and a “cosmological prose poem.” His more than seventy Continue reading & text links

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Wouk, Herman

by Laurence W. Mazzeno (2000) WOUK, HERMAN (1915-2019). Herman Wouk, author of the best-selling sea novel The Caine Mutiny (1951) and other works about the navy in World War II, was born in New York City, eldest son of Russian Jewish Continue reading & text links

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Wilson, August

WILSON, AUGUST (1945-2005). August Wilson, a prominent American playwright, was born Frederick August Kittel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 27, 1945 to Frederick Kittel, a German baker, and Daisy Wilson Kittel, an African American cleaning woman. Born the fourth of Continue reading & text links

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Williams, Tennessee

WILLIAMS, TENNESSEE [THOMAS LANIER] (1911-1983). Winner of four New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards and two Pulitzer Prizes for his plays, Tennessee Williams is most identified with the American South. He was born in Mississippi and spent his early childhood Continue reading & text links

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Walcott, Derek

WALCOTT, DEREK [ALTON] (1930-2017). Winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in literature, Derek Walcott identifies in his life and work two primary inspirations: the Caribbean Sea and his mixed-race heritage. Born and raised in the harbor city of Castries, St. Continue reading & text links

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Vidal, Gore

VIDAL, GORE [EUGENE LUTHER] (1925-2012). Gore Vidal was born in West Point, New York, attended Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and served in the army during World War II. A novelist, playwright, and essayist, he occasionally employs maritime settings Continue reading & text links

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Rowson, Susanna H.

ROWSON, SUSANNA H[ASWELL]. (1762-1824). Born in Portsmouth, England, Susanna H. Rowson became an actress, educator, prolific writer in several genres, and notably the author of Charlotte Temple (1791), America’s first best-selling novel. Rowson’s father, William Haswell, was a lieutenant in Continue reading & text links

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Rice, Elmer

RICE, ELMER (1892-1967). Born Elmer Reizenstein, the playwright Elmer Rice is best known for his realistic and expressionistic dramas of urban life. However, he turned to the sea for two of his plays. Between Two Worlds (first perf. 1934; pub. Continue reading & text links

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O’Neill, Eugene

by Margaret Loftus Ranald (2000) O’NEILL, EUGENE [GLADSTONE] (1888-1953). Eugene O’Neill, America’s preeminent playwright, winner of the Nobel Prize (1936) and four Pulitzer Prizes (1920, 1922, 1928, 1957), was born in the Barrett Hotel, New York City, son of the actor Continue reading & text links

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Merwin, Samuel

MERWIN, SAMUEL (1874-1936). Born in Evanston, Illinois, Samuel Merwin attended Northwestern University but did not graduate. His literary career began with the publication of two popularly acclaimed novels, The Short Line War (1899) and Calumet “K” (1901), written in collaboration Continue reading & text links

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McNally, Terrence

McNALLY, TERRENCE (1938-2020). Terrence McNally’s seriocomic dramas have won him acclaim as one of the most prolific playwrights of the 1990s, one particularly interested in the representation of gay men. Along with other dramatists who portray the healing and redemptive Continue reading & text links

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Jewitt, John Rodgers

JEWITT, JOHN RODGERS (1783-1821). An Englishman who served aboard the American merchant vessel Boston, John Jewitt became famous as a “captive” of the Indians of Nootka Sound, off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, when he survived the destruction Continue reading & text links

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Howells, William Dean

HOWELLS, WILLIAM DEAN (1837-1920). A native of Ohio, William Dean Howells began to work in his father’s printing shop at age nine. A self-taught student of languages and literature, he early entered a career in journalism. After writing a campaign Continue reading & text links

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Howe, Tina

HOWE, TINA (1937- ). Obie-award-winning playwright Tina Howe often employs sea imagery as metaphoric devices in her plays. Born in Boston and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, Howe began to have her works professionally produced in the early 1970s; her Continue reading & text links

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Herne, James A.

HERNE, JAMES A[HERN]. (1839-1901). James A. Herne was an actor, manager, and playwright whose early reputation as a successful melodramatist was established on the basis of his collaborations with playwright/producer/director David Belasco. Later in his career, however, he made a Continue reading & text links

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de Hartog, Jan

DE HARTOG, JAN (1914-2002). Born in Holland, Jan de Hartog ran off to sea when he was ten years old. Six years later he enrolled in Amsterdam Naval College and became a junior mate in the Dutch oceangoing tugboat service. Continue reading & text links

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Green, Paul

GREEN, PAUL [ELIOT] (1894-1981). A prolific playwright and poet whose literary career spanned several decades and genres, Paul Green is remembered chiefly for his dramatizations of southern folklore and customs and the plight of the African American in particular, in Continue reading & text links

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Glaspell, Susan

GLASPELL, SUSAN [KEATING] (1876-1948). Associated with the Provincetown Players, a group that included Eugene O’Neill, Jig Cook, and Floyd Dell in the early years of their illustrious collaboration (1916- 1922), Susan Glaspell is best known for her novels and the Continue reading & text links

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Ferrini, Vincent

FERRINI, VINCENT (1913-2007). Vincent Ferrini was born into a blue-collar, immigrant family struggling to earn a living in the shoe factories of Lynn, Massachusetts. His first volume of poems, No Smoke (1941), records the depression-era deprivations of his early years. Continue reading & text links

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Dunlap, William

DUNLAP, WILLIAM (1766-1839). William Dunlap, born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, showed considerable artistic aptitude at an early age and in 1784 was sent to England to study painting under Benjamin West. There, however, he became fascinated with the theater Continue reading & text links

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Doolittle, Hilda

D[OOLITTLE]., H[ILDA]. (1886-1961). H. D., a poet, novelist, dramatist, and translator whose works often incorporate sea imagery, was born in Pennsylvania. Childhood visits to the seacoasts of Rhode Island and Maine first inspired H. D., best known for her imagist Continue reading & text links

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Davis, Richard Harding

DAVIS, RICHARD HARDING (1864-1916). Born in Philadelphia, Richard Harding Davis was the first child born to the journalist L. Clarke Davis and the fiction writer Rebecca Harding Davis. He soon followed in his parents’ footsteps as a newspaperman and later Continue reading & text links

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Coxe, Louis O.

COXE, LOUIS O[SBORNE]. (1918-1993). Louis O. Coxe was a student in Allen Tate’s Creative Arts program at Princeton when Pearl Harbor occurred. Having grown up in Salem, Massachusetts, Coxe joined the navy. He came to regard his wartime service at Continue reading & text links

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Bradbury, Ray

BRADBURY, RAY [DOUGLAS] (1920-2012). Ray Bradbury, prolific author of twenty story collections and eight novels evolving out of more than 340 published short stories, was born in Waukegan, Illinois. He has lived in Los Angeles since 1934. His work as Continue reading & text links

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Behrman, S. N.

BEHRMAN, S[AMUEL]. N[ATHANIEL]. (1893-1973). The prolific playwright S. N. Behrman was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, into dire poverty; his entry into professional theatre was rapid, and by the mid-1920s he was already a notable literary figure. He remained a significant Continue reading & text links

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Albee, Edward

ALBEE, EDWARD (1928-2016). A leading contemporary playwright, Edward Albee made his early reputation writing spare, psychological dramas, of which his most acclaimed and widely known remains Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (first perf. 1962; pub. 1962). An early one-act, The Continue reading & text links

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Aiken, Conrad

[AIKEN, CONRAD POTTER], “SAMUEL JEAKE JR.” (1889-1973). A friend and contemporary of T. S. Eliot, Conrad Aiken divided his time between England and the United States before settling in Massachusetts in 1947. He used the pen name “Samuel Jeake Jr.” Continue reading & text links

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