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Visions & Voices: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom: Books of Interest

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Books of Interest

August Wilson and Black Aesthetics
"This book offers new essays and interviews addressing Wilson's work, ranging from examinations of the presence of Wilson's politics in his plays to the limitations of these politics on contemporary interpretations of Black aesthetics. Also includes an updated introduction assessing Wilson's legacy since his death in 2005."

August Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle: Critical Perspectives on the Plays
"Providing a detailed study of American playwright August Wilson (1945-2005), this collection of new essays explores the development of the author's ethos across his twenty-five-year creative career--a process that transformed his life as he retraced the lives of his fellow 'Africans in America.' While Wilson's narratives of Pittsburgh and Chicago are microcosms of black life in America, they also reflect the psychological trauma of his disconnection with his biological father, his impassioned efforts to discover and reconnect with the blues, with Africa and with poet/activist Amiri Baraka, and his love for the vernacular of Pittsburgh."

Conversations with August Wilson
" collects a selection of the many interviews Wilson gave from 1984 to 2004. In the interviews, the playwright covers at length and in detail his plays and his background. He comments as well on such subjects as the differences between African Americans and whites, his call for more black theater companies, and his belief that African Americans made a mistake in assimilating themselves into the white mainstream. He also talks about his major influences, what he calls his "four B's"-the blues, writers James Baldwin and Amiri Baraka, and painter Romare Bearden. Wilson also discusses his writing process and his multiple collaborations with director Lloyd Richards."

Gem of the Ocean: Essays on August Wilson in the Black Diaspora
"The National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) has become a fixture of the Winston-Salem, North Carolina community since its inception in 1989.  At the 2007 NBTF International Colloquium presenters including Wole Soyinka, Kwame Dawes, Ed Bullins and over a dozen other scholars and writers shared works on the impact of August Wilson, on his plays, and on the state of African and African American theatre.  Conference coordinator, Olasope O. Oyelaran, has gathered these essays in this volume, Gem of the Ocean: August Wilson in the Black Diaspora, which pays tribute to both August Wilson and NBTF founder Larry Leon Hamlin. With this collection, Oyelaran adds to the already expanding canon of writing that celebrates Wilson’s contributions to the world stage."

Ma Rainey and the Classic Blues Singers
"This book is filled with information about Ma Rainey and other female blues singers. It is lavishly illustrated with black and white photos and illustrations. It is a critical discussion of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and the 'classic' women singers of the 'twenties who first put blues on record and established its relationship to jazz."

Understanding August Wilson
"August Wilson counts among America's greatest playwrights--having garnered commercial success on Broadway and critical acclaim including New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, Drama Desk Awards, Tony Awards, and two Pulitzer Prizes. This revised edition of Understanding August Wilson provides a comprehensive view of the thematic structure of Wilson's plays, the placement of his work within the context of American drama, and the distinctively African American experiences and traditions that he dramatizes. Mary L. Bogumil argues that Wilson gave voice to disfranchised and marginalized African Americans who were promised a stake in the American dream but find their access blocked. The author maintains that Wilson wished not only to portray the predicaments of African American life but also to shed light on the atavistic connection African Americans have to their African ancestors. Bogumil explains that the playwright's work both perpetuates and subverts the tradition of American drama in order to expose the distinct differences between white American and African American experiences..."