Dean of H&S Publishes Book on American Drama

By Chris Holmes, June 23, 2022

Dean and Professor of Literatures in English, Claire Gleitman, has published her book, Anxious Masculinity in the Drama of Arthur Miller and Beyond: Salesmen, Sluggers, and Big Daddies, with Bloomsbury's prestigious drama imprint Methuen Drama. The culmination of years of teaching and scholarship on Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Dramatic Literature, Anxious Masculinity marks a major work in this field.

This study examines the anxious male breadwinner as he is incarnated in Arthur Miller's most celebrated plays and as he resurfaces in different guises throughout American drama, from the 1950s to the present. It offers a compelling analysis of gender dynamics – staunchly homosocial, vaguely or overtly misogynistic, anxiously homophobic – and the legacy of this figure in the works of other American dramatists. Throughout, the book argues that the gendered anxieties exhibited by the anxious male breadwinner are the very ones invoked with such success by Donald Trump.

Gleitman examines this figure in the plays of Tennessee Williams, later 20th century writers Lorraine Hansberry, David Mamet, August Wilson, and Sam Shepard (who reposition him in more racially and economically marginalized settings), and in the more recent work of Tony Kushner, Paula Vogel, and Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, who shift their focus to the next generation, which seeks to escape his clutches and forge new, often gleefully queer identities. The final chapter concerns contemporary Black dramatists Suzan-Lori Parks, Jackie Sibblies Drury, and Jeremy O. Harris, whose plays move us from anxious masculinity to anxious whiteness and speak directly to the current moment.

For many years now, Claire has exemplified what it means to achieve excellence as a teacher-scholar, with scholarship that matters beyond Ithaca's campus, and classes that mark the high point for many students at the college. The Department of Literatures in English is proud of our dear colleague and friend on this wonderful achievement.

More information about the book can be found here: