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By Barbara Ozieblo, Maria Dolores Narbona-Carrion, Marc Maufort

The theatre has consistently been the location of visionary hopes for a reformed nationwide destiny and an area for propagating rules, either cultural and political. The essays during this quantity deal with the strategies of 'Americanness' and the perceptions of the 'alien' - as handled within the paintings of Anna Cora Mowatt to Nilo Cruz.

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A dedicated fan of the legitimate theater in his youth, he (like many of his class) pursued education as the means to upward mobility. He attended New York Law School, graduating with an LL. B. in 1912, but practiced law very briefly, preferring writing to full-time employment. His first play, On Trial, “a purely commercial transaction” (274), according to Atkinson (and an early example of the use of flashbacks), was a surprise Broadway hit in 1914, earning him a hundred thousand dollars, then a small fortune.

Zero, after all, prides himself on never missing a day of work in twenty-five years. One of the “good clean people,” he is “shocked” by the mere thought of “smutty stories” by the likes of Swift and Rabelais and quits the Elysian Fields when he discovers they’re peopled by “a lot of rummies an’ loafers an’ bums” (Rice 53-54). A penchant for depicting the lumpenbourgeoisie as Other is, in fact, very much tied to the particular habitus of the theater-going and theater-making classes who “almost invariably attempt to exaggerate their social distance” from “the ‘lower middles’” (Davis 68).

Ralegh’s only chance for freedom was to prove his value to James by assuring the occupation of Guiana by bringing home a cargo of ore. Whether or not Ralegh deliberately deceived the king with assurances that Guiana was covered with gold and silver, he staked everything on the voyage. The attempt was a disaster; Ralegh’s partner, Keymis, shot himself when he was unable to reach the Spanish mine and Ralegh returned to England, a doomed man. There were several notable consequences: his nobility at his execution made him a martyr for liberty and, even though the raid failed, “the prominence which Ralegh had given to [Guiana] from 1595 onwards did much to encourage extensive colonizing enterprises.

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