american literature drama, literature intended for performance, written by americans in the english language. american drama begins in the american colonies in the 17th century and continues to the present.
most american plays of the 18th and 19th centuries strongly reflected british influence. in fact, no new york city theater season presented more american plays than british plays until 1910. the reasons behind this phenomenon are complex, but a common language and the ready availability of british plays and british actors offer the most obvious explanation.
although the british repertory dominated the american stage for so long, american drama had begun to diverge from british drama by the time of andrew jacksons presidency, from 1828 to 1836. british plays, which typically reflected the attitudes and manners of the upper classes, were by then in conflict with more egalitarian american values. despite this growing divergence...
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