0.1 Edward Albee and His Works
2016 witnessed the loss of a genius in theater, since Edward Albee (1928-2016)passed away on September 16, 2016. Albee is a foremost American playwright, hehas fully established his reputation and popularity in the world theater by receivingthree Pulitzer Prizes for Drama and three Tony Awards. For his experimental dramatictechniques and profound play meanings, Albee has been “listed alongside EugeneO’Neill, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller as one of the nation’s great (white,male) dramatists of the twentieth century”(Bottoms 2005:1). All his life, Albee hasproved himself as a serious playwright bearing the social responsibilities in mind. Heholds that writing should be helpful and useful because “If it can’t instruct people alittle bit more about the responsibilities of consciousness, there’s no point in doing it.We all write because we don’t like what we see, we want people to be better anddifferent.” (Albee 2005) During his whole career, he devotes himself to thedescription of the existing social issues and tries to evoke audiences’ concern withdiverse writing skills.In Albee’s plays, the middle-class characters or families are his main observingobjects, since they can best represent the modern American. Whether in his earlymasterpiece The Zoo Story or his later work like Three Tall Women, Albee’s concernis always put on man’s frustrated feelings like disillusion, fragmentation, loss ofself-importance or life meaning, etc.After the undesirable acceptance of Seascape in 1975, it took Albee 15 yearsbefore he returned to stage with his third Pulitzer-winning play— Three Tall Women(1991) ， which has been performed continuously for 582 times since its firstappearance. Hailed by many critics as his best play in 30 years, Three Tall Women hasbeen regarded as Albee’s autobiographical play in which Albee seems to reach acompromise with his adoptive mother, with whom he has been in a lifetime unpleasant relation. “It is true I did not like her very much, could not abide herprejudices, her loathings, her paranoias, but I did admire her pride, her sense of self”(Albee, 2005). It is in this play that Albee tends to probe into the inner world of hisadoptive mother and express his understanding and compassion for her.
0.2 Literature Review
Albee has been studied comprehensively abroad, especially in America wheremany biographies of Albee recording Albee’s personal life and the ways in which lifeaffects his writing, like Edward Albee: A Singular Journey (1999) by Mel Gussow,Albee’s most satisfactory one. Besides, comments on Albee and his works have beenpublished as collections, making possible a complete and systematic study of Albee.The Cambridge Companion to Edward Albee (2005), for instance, offers authorizedinterpretation of almost all of Albee’s works from the perspectives of feminism,ecologism, symbolism, absurdity, etc.Edward Albee and his plays have been studied from different perspectivesabroad, and most of the studies focus on the absurdity in his plays. Martin Esslin inhis book The Theatre of the Absurd puts Albee into the category of the Theatre of theAbsurd for “his works attacks the very foundations of American optimism” (Esslin,225). Many researchers have examined the absurdity in Albee’s plays by analyzinghis writing techniques. In Edward Albee: Tradition and Renewal (1969), GilbertDebusscher concentrates on Albee’s language features such as poignant sarcasm andvulgar dialect. Albee admires and benefits form the playwrights like Samuel Beckett,Genet, Eugen O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, etc. whose works either apply many avanttechniques or quest for the real meaning of life. Thus there are some research papersprobing into the relations between Albee’s plays and those of Beckett’s , such as thereview published in World Literature Today by William Hutchings discussing thestylistic similarity between Albee’s Three Tall Women and Beckett’s Krapp’s LastTape. Besides absurdity