Central man: the paradox of heroism in modern American drama
Central Man traces the evolving dialectic of heroism in modern American drama in the light of the epic tension between the white and the black races. The emergence and subsequent waning of the New England Transcendentalist movement in the nineteenth century provides an apt context for a reappraisal of the heroic impulse in the narrative and dramatic forms that developed in the modern age of American enterprise. Drawing on these theoretical assumptions, this book examines the paradoxical genesis of an indigenous, multi-cultural and self-reliant voice on the American stage, starting from the beginning of the twentieth century, moving across the tumult of two World Wars and then proceeding on to the Vietnam era in the Sixties. In its refreshingly new approach, Central Man not only demystifies the classical and continental notions of heroism in American drama, but also demonstrates the ironic symbiosis of the historically unequal races of a great nation through and beyond the latter's inherent conflicts on the stage. The idea of the 'heroic' thus vindicates a pragmatic and natural discourse of transcendence at the fundamental level of humanity.
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The Dialectic of Heroism in Transcendentalism
Henry David Thoreau
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Abe's affirmation Albee Albee's American stage archetypal Artaud artist become black hero black heroism black-white dialectic Carlyle Central character classical Cody concept of heroism consciousness contemporary context cultural Cummings's Custer death decades delineation despair dialectic of heroism dramaturgy Dream E.E. Cummings earlier Edward Albee embodied emergence Emerson Emersonian Emperor Jones epic ethnic Eugene O'Neill existential faith frontier Genet Gertrude Stein Greek heroic Hughie human Ibsen Iceman Cometh ideal Indian individual James's John Brown Kierkegaard Kopit later LeRoi Jones literary Mailer man's manifest metaphor mode modern American drama Moody's mulatto myth mythic mythopoesis nature Negro Nietzsche Nietzschean nineteenth century Norman Mailer O'Neill's observes Orestes Othello paradigm Paul Green Philoctetes philosophy play playwrights poet potential Prometheus protagonist Ridgely Torrence role Sartre self-reliance significant soul spirit Stein Strindberg symbolic teleology tension theatre Thoreau tion Torrence tradition tragedy tragic transcendence transcendental universal vanishing vindicate white hero Wilder William James William Vaughn Moody