Date of Graduation
Paul Green's symphonic dramas represent a collective memory for and a challenge to American popular culture. Green's artistic insight and dramatic innovation allowed him to applaud that culture and to inform it as he lauded past values of individual vision, courage, and hard work and urged compassionate confirmation of individual dignity. Green recorded features of mass culture, beginning with the people of his own North Carolina origin and eventually embracing the expanse of his country's geography and history. Green celebrated and defended the common man, and he created his literary works (especially his symphonic dramas) to cater to the tastes of a mass audience which he sought and won. In summer amphitheaters across the country, more people have seen the staged symphonic dramas of Paul Green than are likely ever to witness staged productions of any other American playwright one might care to name. This study analyzes five of Green's symphonic dramas, identifies the themes and techniques that seem most significant for Green and most revealing of his simultaneous embrace and rejection of popular culture, and assesses what personal philosophies and professional experiences resulted in Green's advocacies for and admonitions to his audiences. "Popular culture," a phrase supercharged with negative connotation for scholars, is shown to be elevated by Green's work. Green's symphonic dramas are traced to show those features that remained consistent and those features that were revised and enriched. Green's early commitment to techniques now touted as essential performance criticism concerns marks his literary leadership and his legitimate mass culture awareness and consumer orientation. Green appropriated American popular culture and contributed a significant element to it. The bibliography is complete. It is partially annotated and cites specific corrections for earlier Green bibliographies that are currently circulating with mistakes therein.
Leech, Carolyn Craft, "Paul Green, symphonic drama, and popular culture." (1993). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9272.