Early American Drama

yikes…check out this piece on my family

American Civilization

American Drama, 1789-1852


Key Formal Terms:

Comedy: Originally, in the Middle Ages, a narrative poem that ended happily, in distinction to a tragedy. In contemporary usage a play or other literary composition written to amuse the audience by appealing to a sense of superiority over the characters depicted. Realistic, concerned with common human foibles. In the end, problems are resolved, order is restored, and the outcome is positive. Comedy can be anarchic and satirical, an effective vehicle for political argument. Many comedies feature the marriage plot, which concludes with lovers entering matrimony.

Malapropism: the comical misuse of language. A staple of comedy, farce, and elements of minstrelsy.

Melodrama: (“song-drama”) a popular form of sensational drama characterized by stark differences between good/evil and emotional exaggeration.

Satire: The literary art of ridiculing a folly or vice in order to expose or correct it. The object of satire is usually some human…

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