Cover image for The theatre of Sam Shepard : states of crisis
The theatre of Sam Shepard : states of crisis
Bottoms, Stephen J. (Stephen James), 1968-
Publication Information:
Cambridge, U.K ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xii, 301 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PS3569.H394 Z63 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This comprehensive analysis traces Sam Shepard's career from his experimental one-act plays of the 1960s to the 1994 play Simpatico. Curse of the Starving Class, Buried Child, True West, Fool for Love and A Lie of the Mind are all examined in depth. Concentrating on his playwriting, this book charts Shepard's various developments and shifts of direction, and the changing contexts in which his work appeared. Engaging, informative, and insightful, The Theatre of Sam Shepard is the definitive source on the works of this innovative and original writer.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Another volume in the "Cambridge Studies in American Theatre and Drama" series, Bottoms's work is the second recent study of playwright Sam Shepard. Unlike Leslie Wade (Sam Shepard and the American Theatre, CH, Jan'98), Bottoms (Univ. of Glasgow, UK) thoroughly examines Shepard's plays and their relationship to the works of Miller, Williams, Albee, and other important American dramatists. The author focuses on the question "Why is Shepard worthy of attention?" One of the strengths of his study is the discussion of the conflict between modern and postmodern perspectives on the nature of US drama. He sees in Shepard a continuation of familiar thematic ideas: the loss of the frontier, the failure of the America Dream, the disintegration of family, and the denial of the past. And yet, Shepard represents a strand of experimentation few recent writers have brought to the theatrical setting. Excellent chronology, a thorough discussion of the Shepard cannon, and evenhanded comparisons with the playwright's contemporaries make for a thoughtful discussion. Libraries should have both recent studies of Shepard's work. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and major research libraries. M. D. Whitlatch Buena Vista University

Table of Contents

Introduction: states of crisis
1 Working out: the early plays, 1964-7
2 Kicking out: rock and ruin, 1967-72
3 Sorting out: an English interlude, 1971-4
4 Nightmares of the nation: improvizations and collaborations, 1976-9
5 Strychnine in the gut: Curse of the Starving Class (1977) and Buried Child (1978)
6 The real thing: True West (1980) and Fool for Love (1983)
7 Fire in the snow: two movies and A Lie of the Mind, 1984-88
8 Victory and loss: the nation in the '90s

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