© 2004

August Wilson and Black Aesthetics

  • Editors
  • Dana A. Williams
  • Sandra G. Shannon

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vi
  2. Introduction

    1. Dana A. Williams
      Pages 1-8
  3. Black Aesthetics as Theory, Art, and Ideology

  4. Black Aesthetics and Interdisciplinary Black Arts

  5. August Wilson’s Plays and Black Aesthetics

  6. Current Unpublished Interviews that Speak to Aesthetic Issues Raised in “The Ground on which I Stand”

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 175-175
    2. Sandra G. Shannon, Dana A. Williams
      Pages 187-195
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 197-225

About this book


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.


aesthetics America identity theatre

About the authors

Dana Williams is Assistant Professor of African American Literature at Howard University. Sandra Shannon is Professor of African American and American Drama at Howard University.

Bibliographic information


"A cogent and timely reminder of the tacit assumptions and invisible inflections that critics and audiences bring to theatrical experience. In this nuanced and richly variegated collection of perspectives on Wilson s importantly controversial The Ground on Which I Stand speech, Williams and Shannon have produced a dynamic exploration of black aesthetics and contemporary theater, which provides a fitting tribute to Wilson s memory and to his spirit." - Alan Nadel, author of May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama of August Wilson and August Wilson, Completing the Twentieth-Century Cycle"Registers the continuing significance of the playwright s 1996 speech that shocked American theatre critics with its echoes of a 1960s Black Arts militancy. In addition to analysis of specific Wilson texts and his construction of black female characters, this lively collection includes two previously unpublished interviews, one with Charles Dutton, who played the male lead in three Wilson plays, and a second with Wilson himself in which he muses about projects he will pursue once the ten-play cycle is completed. Capping the volume is a play that demonstrates how Wilson s spirituality and activism inspires a generation of younger black women playwrights." - Sandra L. Richards, Professor, Northwestern University