Southern Women Playwrights Confront Race, Region, and Gender
A close analysis of southern women playwrights
Winner of the 2021 Eudora Welty Prize
In contrast to other literary genres, drama has received little attention in southern studies, and women playwrights in general receive less recognition than their male counterparts. In Marginalized: Southern Women Playwrights Confront Race, Region, and Gender, author Casey Kayser addresses these gaps by examining the work of southern women playwrights, making the argument that representations of the American South on stage are complicated by difficulties of identity, genre, and region.
Through analysis of the dramatic texts, the rhetoric of reviews of productions, as well as what the playwrights themselves have said about their plays and productions, Kayser delineates these challenges and argues that playwrights draw on various conscious strategies in response. These strategies, evident in the work of such playwrights as Pearl Cleage, Sandra Deer, Lillian Hellman, Beth Henley, Marsha Norman, and Shay Youngblood, provide them with the opportunity to lead audiences to reconsider monolithic understandings of northern and southern regions and, ultimately, create new visions of the South.
"Nuanced and tempered throughout, Marginalized: Southern Women Playwrights Confront Race, Region, and Gender is a provocative study that greatly extends our understanding of the various minefields that southern women writers navigate when they write for the stage. "- Will Brantley, author of Feminine Sense in Southern Memoir: Smith, Glasgow, Welty, Hellman, Porter, and Hurston
"Its greatest contribution, I think, is its advice to critics, readers, and consumers of American theatre: the American South is not a monolith, indivisible and uniform, and southern women’s plays should neither be overlooked nor misread. They are far too smart for that."- Amy R. Martin, Southern Review of Books