John Howard Lawson


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Lawson, John Howard

 

Born Sept. 25, 1895, in New York. American playwright, art historian, and social activist.

Lawson’s early plays—for example, Loudspeaker (1927) and Marching Song (1937), about an automobile plant strike—were infused with antibourgeois sentiment and experimental in form. He wrote the screenplays for such progressive films as Heart of Spain (1937), Blockade (1938), and Counter Attack (1945). His book Film in the Battle of ’Ideas (1953; Russian translation, 1954) revealed the reactionary role of Hollywood, the mouthpiece of official propaganda. Theory and Technique of Playwriting and Screenwriting (1949; Russian translation, 1960), written from a Marxist point of view, presented an artistic and theoretical history of drama from Aristotle to the present. Lawson, as one of Hollywood’s progressive figures, was hounded by the McCarthyites in 1947.

WORKS

The Hidden Heritage. New York, 1950.
In Russian translation:
“O tvorchestve Folknera.” In W. Faulkner, Osobniak. Moscow, 1965.

REFERENCES

Rabkin, G. Drama and Commitment. Bloomington, 1964.
Bruning, E. Das amerikanische Drama der dreissiger Jahre. Berlin, 1966.
References in periodicals archive ?
He speaks in-depth about Albert Maltz, Elia Kazan, Edward Dmytryk, John Howard Lawson, Dalton Trumbo, Paul Robeson, Dorothy Parker, Abraham Lincoln Polonsky, amongst others; names that, in some way, will be remembered because of their involvement (and, in some instances, their betrayal) of the CPUSA.
Processional by John Howard Lawson is set in West Virginia in 1925, and employs an innovative and vibrant melange of drama, vaudeville, grotesquery and slapstick to depict a savage critique of western capitalism.
Essay 1, "The 1920s: Workers In (and Out of) Jail" (1-8) precedes Processional, by John Howard Lawson (9-82) and Singing Jailbirds, by Upton Sinclair (83-150).
Baird Shuman, Clifford Odets [NY: Twayne, 1962]; and John Howard Lawson, Theory and Technique of Playwriting and Screenwriting [NY: Hill and Wang, 1960].
Messiah of the new technique; John Howard Lawson, Communism, and American theatre, 1923-1937.
provides an examination of playwright John Howard Lawson (1894-1977) and his often misrepresented or overlooked career, in the context of leftist cultural and political ideas in the US during the 1920s and 1930s.
They include the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), who summoned "victims" to name friends and co-workers who shared Communist sympathies and/or party membership; the film moguls who capitulated to HUAC pressure and blacklisted "honest idealists"; the liberals who turned their backs while the said outrage took place; and the ex-Communist "friendly witnesses" who testified before HUAC about their experiences in the Party, "betraying" Party colleagues such as Edward Dmytryk, Lewis Milestone, Bertolt Brecht, Howard Koch, Ring Lardner Jr, John Howard Lawson and Dalton Trumbo who found themselves out of work and, in some cases, in jail.
Jerome and John Howard Lawson (a co-founder of the Screen Writers Guild and screenwriter of Algiers and Action in the North Atlantic) enforced this art-is-a-weapon creed in Hollywood, as they had done earlier among New York dramatists.
She counted as friends people like John Dos Passos, Edmund Wilson, Malcolm Cowley, Ernest Hemingway, and John Howard Lawson (the latter Page believes to have been her paramour in the 1930s).
The Careless Years'' (1957), John Howard Lawson and Mitch Lindemann.
After discovering that its editor, Maxwell Stewart, was "listed with such outstanding Communists and fellow travelers as John Howard Lawson, Langston Hughes, Dashiell Hammet, Haakon Chevalier, etc.
John Howard Lawson, Albert Matz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott and Dalton Trumbo.