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Look Inside David Mamet and American Macho

David Mamet and American Macho

Part of Cambridge Studies in American Theatre and Drama

  • Date Published: July 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107532281


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About the Authors
  • Why did Americans reject the British gentleman as their dominant model of masculinity? Why is a boy's relationship to his mother a crucial factor in shaping his masculinity? What and how do boys learn about what it means to be a man? Holmberg demonstrates how David Mamet's plays provide insights into these questions, and into the masculine malaise. Through the gangsters, businessmen, soldiers, sailors, athletes, frontiersmen and thugs he created, Mamet celebrates and criticizes American macho. The book provides close readings of Mamet's well-known plays as well as plays which have not previously received the critical attention they deserve, and includes discussions of recent films and unpublished film scripts that shed light on Mamet's attitudes to American macho. Holmberg also presents detailed analysis of Mamet as director of his own plays, which gives fascinating insights into the playwright's intentions through his instructions to actors on how to play a part.

    • Clearly demonstrates how David Mamet's plays can be illuminated by placing them in the context of gender studies
    • Alongside discussions of Mamet's well-known works, there are close readings of plays which have not received due critical attention, presenting a fresh and unique insight into the playwright's oeuvre
    • Investigates language as a major aspect of masculinity, using the insights of sociolinguists to present an approach to understanding Mamet's dialogue
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Holmberg uncovers Mamet's complex approach to American masculinity, revealing how the playwright celebrates men but also critiques the structures by which they define their identities. He offers a comprehensive discussion of masculinity across Mamet's work, from the earliest plays to the latest dramas, from the lowliest one-act play to the blockbuster film screenplay, including unpublished works such as his screenplay of a James Fenimore Cooper novel."
    D. E. Magill, Choice

    "Holmberg’s analysis … permits us to see the artist as a uniquely American writer whose images are profoundly connected with our cultural obsessions with masculinity."
    Henry I. Schvey, Theatre Research International

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107532281
    • length: 322 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 19 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Enter the cowboy
    2. Mamet and American macho
    3. Mothers and masculinity
    4. Act like a man: the boy culture
    5. Mamet's pants

  • Author

    Arthur Holmberg, Brandeis University, Massachusetts
    Arthur Holmberg is Associate Professor of Dramatic Literature, Theatre History, and Performance Theory at Brandeis University, and is the Literary Director of the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard. He was the US editor for The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre, and he has also edited The Lively ART: Reflections on Twenty Years of the American Repertory Theatre. He is the author of The Theatre of Robert Wilson. His articles on theatre, film and music have appeared in many publications including the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post and Modern Drama. Holmberg served as resident dramaturg at the ART, where he worked with artists including Robert Wilson, Philip Glass and David Mamet.

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