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The Liberal in American Drama: Robert Emmet Sherwood

The Liberal in American Drama: Robert Emmet Sherwood

Abstract

Summary of Proceedings of the Western Political Science AssociationThe Liberal in American Drama: Robert Emmet Sherwood SAGE Publications, Inc.1962DOI: 10.1177/106591296201500373 Morton Kroll University of Washington XII. Politics and Literature: Protest and Disillusionment This paper examines the liberalism of the American playwright, Robert E. Sherwood, through an analysis of his major plays. The plays are treated as documents of their time, as reflecting the political position on a number of major issues by a playwright who regarded himself as a liberal in the 1920's and 1930's. Sherwood was very sensitive to the political tenor of his times. True, he never wrote a depression play; The Petrified Forest is as close as he came. But he was interested in the kind of chaos of which the "great depression" and World War I seemed inevitably a part. While he produced good theater, he was less emotive than Clifford Odets, less prone to incite to social action. Sherwood was more directly concerned with a political position than his successors who were to dominate the American theater in the late forties and fifties, such as William Inge, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams. Miller, especially in The Crucible and All My Sons, hit upon
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