The Female Dramatist : Profiles of Women Playwrights from Around the World from the Middle Ages to the Present Day

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9780816030156: The Female Dramatist : Profiles of Women Playwrights from Around the World from the Middle Ages to the Present Day

This compendium provides more than 200 critical profiles of women playwrights over the past 1000 years. Each entry offers a concise biography, synopses of the writer's work, professional achievements, critical commentary and a bibliography of works both by and about the writer. A supplemental index covers an additional 150 female playwrights.

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From Booklist:

Female playwrights have been largely overlooked in anthologies and criticism, so this reference work on more than 200 such women is a delight. Partnow has 25 years of stage and film experience and has edited three anthologies of women's quotations.

Criteria for selection include significant body of work, influence, professional staging, innovative approach, present availability of work in English, and critical review. While most playwrights covered are twentieth-century Americans, there is representation from all continents and from 1000 A.D. onward. The earliest is medieval dramatist Hrotsvitha von Gandersheim; the newest is Belgian Michele Fabien, born in 1970. The author does not intend to be exhaustive, but she does manage to include some fairly obscure folks, such as British dramatist Susanna Centlivre, author of The Busie Bodie (1709) and The Wonder! A Woman Keeps a Secret (1714), and Aldona Liobyte, born in Latvia in 1915. Well-known women such as Agatha Christie, Lorraine Hansberry, and Jean Kerr are included as well.

Entries are alphabetically arranged and vary from a quarter page to three pages. Approximately a quarter of the entries have portraits. Information includes personal history, contributions to the field, a selected list of plays and other works, and selected secondary materials. Some entries open with excerpts from plays. The writing is accessible^-clear and concise, not pedantic.

The book also includes a time line (with representative male playwrights interspersed), a supplemental index of other women playwrights, a bibliography, and a general index. Although the time line lists the nationality of each playwright, a separate nationality index would have been useful. The supplemental index lists 140 additional women who have "not yet created a sufficiently significant body of work" or for which the editor was unable to find sufficient information. Obviously, "significant body of work" refers to drama for the stage, since among these 140 women are Maya Angelou, Edna O'Brien, and Sonya Sanchez.

Many of the women covered here can be found elsewhere, but because it brings such a range of female dramatists together into a single volume, this resource should be a welcome addition in high-school, public, and academic libraries.

From Library Journal:

How nice to have, all in one volume, this wonderful compendium of playwrights who "just happen" to all be women. Undoubtedly, some have been missed, as the author herself recognizes in her foreword, but the coverage is excellent: six centuries, more than 200 female playwrights, and 50 illustrations. Of special help is a time line that begins with Hrosvitha von Gandersheim (German, c.935-1000 (circa) and ends with Fatima Gallaire-Bouregaa, a contemporary Algerian-French playwright. Bibliographies are also provided for each dramatist, but unfortunately not all are complete, particularly in the case of those women who were particularly prolific. One hopes that they will all be complete in the second edition of this welcome addition to our drama collections. Recommended for public and academic libraries.?Susan L. Peters, Emory Univ. Lib., Atlanta
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Published by Facts on File (1998)
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