Paul Green (1894-1981) grew up in Harnett County, North Carolina, and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1927. His life and achievements will be celebrated this Friday and Saturday (April 20-21) at the Paul Green Festival, taking place in Lillington, NC, and on the campus of Campbell University. For information about festival events, see the official website paulgreen.org/festival.
UNC Press is the proud publisher of many books by and about Paul Green. If the festival leaves you wanting to know more, consider these books for your reading list.
The Lost Colony: A Symphonic Drama of American History
by Paul Green
The model for modern outdoor theater, The Lost Colony combines song, dance, drama, special effects, and music to breathe life into shadowy legend. This rendering of the play’s text is edited with an introduction by Laurence Avery. 2012 marks the 75th season of continuous production of The Lost Colony at Roanoke Island, North Carolina.
A Southern Life: Letters of Paul Green
Edited by Laurence Avery
Avery has selected and annotated the 329 letters in this volume from over 9,000 existing pieces. The letters, to such figures as Sherwood Anderson, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, John Dos Passos, Zora Neale Hurston, and others interested in the arts and human rights in the South, are alive with the intellect, buoyant spirit, and sensitivity to the human condition that made Green such an inspiring force in the emerging New South. Avery’s introduction and full bibliography of the playwright’s works and first productions give readers a context for understanding Green’s life and times.
A Paul Green Reader
Edited by Laurence Avery
This collection features Green’s drama and fiction, with texts of three plays—including the Pulitzer Prize–winning In Abraham’s Bosom and the famous second act of The Lost Colony—and six short stories. It also reveals the life behind the work through several of Green’s essays and letters and an excerpt from The Wordbook, his collection of regional folklore. Laurence Avery’s introduction outlines Green’s life and examines the central concerns and techniques of his work.
Other UNC Press Titles from Paul Green have recently been brought back into print through our Enduring Editions program:
The Highland Call: A Symphonic Play of American History in Two Acts (1941)
This is the story of the dreams and fears that shaped the lives of the Scots in the Cape Fear Valley. It centers around the life of Flora McDonald, friend and protector of Bonnie Prince Charlie, who came here in 1774 with her family to seek a peace she had never known in Scotland.
The Hawthorn Tree: Some Papers and Letters on Life and the Theatre (1943)
With easy informality the author sets down his thoughts on education, art, and life in the war-torn world of 1943. Each chapter is complete in itself, but all are built on a central theme. The essence of the theme is that our training and our ideals have become mechanical and sterile, that the simple and perennial values of life are in danger of being forgotten.
Forever Growing: Some Notes on a Credo for Teachers (1945)
In this book, Green puts forth his fervent conviction that the Western world is out of proportion and on the wrong track in its reliance on science as a way of life for the spirit of man. He believes that little is to be learned from our mechanistic psychology but that much is to be learned from oriental religious psychology.
Song in the Wilderness (1947)
This work is a cantata for chorus and orchestra, with baritone solo, celebrating the pioneers who settled the American wilderness. In his poem, Green has given us the finer spirit of the ancestors of many native Americans throughout the republic. Charles Vardell has brought his imagination and distinguished skill to the translation of emotions, ideas, and aspirations into music.
The Common Glory: A Symphonic Drama of American History (1948)
With the use of song, music, poetry, dance, pantomime, and story-line, Green has created a colorful symphonic drama, presented Thomas Jefferson’s single-handed triumph over the dissension and discouragement of his fellow Americans to keep alive their ideal of liberty. It is an absorbing story punctuated with high comedy.
Dog on the Sun: A Volume of Stories (1949)
There is an unusual range in the twelve stories of this volume, covering the rich legendary lore of the rural sections to the brutally realistic treatment of the poor whites. The stories exhibit a keen ear for the rhythms of American speech and a feeling for the underdog.
Home to My Valley (1970)
For many years Green traveled up and down his native Cape Fear River Valley in North Carolina, collecting the folklore of the people of the valley—noting down their speech, beliefs, customs, anecdotes, ballads, epitaphs, legends, proverbs, stories, superstitions, games, folk songs, and the like. The selections from this rich harvest of human laughter and tears represent Green at his best.
Land of Nod and Other Stories (1976)
Focusing principally on African American characters in rural North Carolina in the early 1900′s, these thirteen stories are as affecting as they are earthy. Simple in construction, but built on complex issues, they follow several of Green’s favorite themes: the white man’s injustice to his black neighbor, the horror of capital punishment, the power of poverty to negate hard work and good intentions, and the stubborn dignity of human beings who refuse to be entirely crushed by circumstance.