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Abolitionist Plays by William Wells Brown

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Abstract:

Theatre, the major platform for mass entertainment in the United States prior to the Civil War, was dominated by two dramatic forms: minstrelsy and melodrama. William Wells Brown, second only to Frederick Douglass as an antislavery orator, ingeniously exploited both dramatic forms in his play, The Escape: or, a Leap to Freedom (1856). Though the play is often described as a response to H.B. Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, which, in its many stage adaptations, became arguably the most popular play of the second half of the nineteenth century, Brown's play may be more accurately viewed as an outstanding example of abolitionist drama, a small, but significant subgenre of American drama of the period. This paper offers a discussion of abolitionist drama as genre, some background information and analysis on Brown's two plays, Experience and The Escape, and a comparison of The Escape with the George L. Aiken stage adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
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Association:
Name: 96th Annual Convention
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http://www.asalh.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p515333_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Giles, Freda. "Abolitionist Plays by William Wells Brown" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 96th Annual Convention, TBA, Richmond, VA, Oct 04, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p515333_index.html>

APA Citation:

Giles, F. S. , 2011-10-04 "Abolitionist Plays by William Wells Brown" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 96th Annual Convention, TBA, Richmond, VA <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p515333_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Theatre, the major platform for mass entertainment in the United States prior to the Civil War, was dominated by two dramatic forms: minstrelsy and melodrama. William Wells Brown, second only to Frederick Douglass as an antislavery orator, ingeniously exploited both dramatic forms in his play, The Escape: or, a Leap to Freedom (1856). Though the play is often described as a response to H.B. Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, which, in its many stage adaptations, became arguably the most popular play of the second half of the nineteenth century, Brown's play may be more accurately viewed as an outstanding example of abolitionist drama, a small, but significant subgenre of American drama of the period. This paper offers a discussion of abolitionist drama as genre, some background information and analysis on Brown's two plays, Experience and The Escape, and a comparison of The Escape with the George L. Aiken stage adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin.


Similar Titles:
"Unbecoming" to Become American: William Wells Brown, Paris, and Clotelle

Playing Eastern, Enacting Afro-Orientalism: The Hampton Singers and William Bradbury’s Esther, the Beautiful Queen

"Its Revolutions and Its Patriots": William Wells Brown, Haiti, and the Dispersed Black Revolutionary

Violent Places: Travel, Reform and Revolution in William Wells Brown's _Three Years in Europe_


 
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