Albee, Edward

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Albee, Edward

Edward Albee (ăl´bē), 1928–, American playwright, one of the leading dramatists of his generation, b. Washington, D.C., as Edward Harvey. Much of his most characteristic work constitutes an absurdist commentary on American life. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1962, film 1966), a Tony Award–winner that is generally regarded as his finest play, presents an all-night drinking bout in which a middle-aged professor and his wife verbally lacerate each other in brilliant colloquial language. His major early plays include The Zoo Story (1959), The Death of Bessie Smith (1960), The Sandbox (1960), The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1963, adapted from the novel by Carson McCullers), and Tiny Alice (1965). Albee won the Pulitzer Prize for A Delicate Balance (1967), Seascape (1975), and Three Tall Women (1994). Other later plays include The Lady from Dubuque (1980), Marriage Play (1987), The Play about the Baby (1998), the Tony Award–winning family tragicomedy The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (2002), Occupant, a portrait of the artist Louise Nevelson (2002), and the semiautobiographical Me, Myself & I (2008).

See P. C. Kolin, Conversations with Edward Albee (1987); biography by M. Gussow (1999); studies by A. Paolucci (1972), R. E. Amacher (1982), and R. H. Solomon (2010).

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