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Big Bear Books

Genesis of an American Playwright

By Horton Foote Edited by Marion Castleberry

Genesis of an American Playwright
Hardback, 287 pages $49.95
Published: 1st January 2004
ISBN: 9780918954916

Paperback, 312 pages $39.95
Published: 1st November 2010
ISBN: 9781602583351
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Literature

In Genesis of an American Playwright Horton Foote, one of the greatest American playwrights of the twentieth century, reflects upon his journey from his childhood in Wharton, Texas, through his early experiences as an actor in the theatre, to his mature vocation as a playwright. All along the way, Foote carefully identifies the people and influences that shaped his character and nurtured his art. What is remarkable about this book is equally remarkable about his drama: he writes with an effortlessness that belies the intimacy of the art emanating from deep within. The stories are simply told, but complex in their resonance. Foote not only reveals his immediate professional world, but he also provides a running commentary on the changes in American culture. This book makes for as fascinating reading as it does compelling history. On December 20, 2000, President Bill Clinton conferred the National Medal of Arts on Texas dramatist, Horton Foote, and noted that Foote's six-decade-long, award-winning career established him as the nation's most prolific writer for stage, film, and television. Foote's many awards include two Academy Awards, an Emmy, a Burkey Award and the Screen Laurel Award from the Writers Guild of America, the Lucille Lortel Award, and his induction into both the Theatre Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Without question, Horton Foote has enriched American literature with his unique writing style and his truthful examinations of the human condition. Besides To Kill A Mockingbird and The Trip To Bountiful, Foote has written a score of notable plays, teleplays, and films.




Chapter 1: Genesis of a Playwright

Seeing and Imagining

Pasadena and Beyond

Learning to Write

Chapter 2: On Being a Southern Writer

Wharton, Then and Now

What It Means to be a Southern Writer

The Trip to Paradise

The Artist as Mythmaker

Things Have Ends and Beginnings

Chapter 3: Writing for the Stage

Dance and Broadway (1944)

Harrison, USA

Sometimes the One-Act Play Says It All

Advice to Young Playwrights

Herbert Berghof

The Orphans’ Home Cycle Lecture

How To and How Not To: Some Lessons Learned along the Way

Introduction to The Young Man from Atlanta

Chapter 4: Writing for the Screen

The Little Box

On First Dramatizing Faulkner

The McDermott Lecture

Writing for Film

Willa Cather

Chapter 5: Thoughts on the American Theatre

The New York Theatre (1930—1940)

The Changing of the Guard

The Vanishing World and Renewals

Appendix: Cast Lists and Production Information

Bibliography of Published and Produced Works (1939—2003)



Foote's multitudinous plays and film scripts exhibit a voice and vision contrasting noticeably with the prevailing zeitgeist, so readers should not be surprised that his essays and lectures are equally distinctive.... Recommended.


Here, in all its astonishing range and depth, in his own words and over years and years and years, is the life and work of one of America's greatest writers. Read it with love and awe.

—Romulus Linney

A book of generosity and honesty that every aspiring writer should read.

—Jean Stapleton

Genesis is indispensable to anyone interested in the American theatre.

—Reynolds Price

MARION CASTLEBERRY, an accomplished director and actor, is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Theatre Studies at Baylor University. He is the author of many academic and professional articles on Horton Foote.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 287 pages

 Paperback , 312 pages
 9in x 6in

  BIO005000, PER000000, PER011030
 Baylor University Press

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