Notable Playwrights contains biographical sketches and critical studies of 106 of the most important and best-known dramatists from antiquity to the present day.
Essays in this volume are taken from the recently published Critical Survey of Drama, Revised Edition (2003), which combined all the earlier Critical Survey of Drama editions and added 79 new essays on individual playwrights. In selecting articles for Notable Playwrights, the editors have taken special care to include the dramatists whose plays are most often studied in high school and undergraduate literature and drama courses. Publication of this set completes Salem Press's adaptation of all its Critical Survey sets in the Magill's Choice line of books.
Of the 106 playwrights covered in Notable Playwrights, 72 are English-language writers and 34 are foreign-language writers whose works are widely studied in translation. The collection of articles as a whole reflects the development of drama from ancient Greek and Roman playwrights up to European, American, Asian, and African writers of the present century. Among the many movements and dramatic genres represented by playwrights in this set are postmodernism, comedy, absurdism, modernism, and expressionism.
Each essay provides essential information at its beginning: the playwright's birth and death dates, followed by these sections:
- Principal drama
- Other literary forms
- Other major works
Five useful reference features are included at the end of volume 3: a Glossary of drama terms, a Time Line of the playwrights by their birthdates, a Category List of the playwrights by the movements they represent, a Geographical List of the playwrights by countries and regions, and a general Subject Index.