Green, Paul,1894–1981, American dramatist, b. Lillington, N.C., grad. Univ. of North Carolina, 1921. He is known for his realistic plays depicting the lives of blacks and white tenant farmers. His first full-length play, In Abraham's Bosom (1926; Pulitzer Prize) was followed by such works as The Field God (1927), The House of Connelly (1931), Johnny Johnson (with music by Kurt Weill, 1936), and Native Son (with Richard Wright, 1941). Green also wrote short stories and novels. His essays on the theater were collected in The Hawthorn Tree (1943), Dramatic Heritage (1953), and Drama and the Weather (1958).
See his Five Plays of the South (1963); study by B. H. Clark (1974).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
Green, Paul (Eliot)(1894–1981) playwright; born near Lillington, N.C. After interrupting his studies at the University of North Carolina—where he was a student of Frederick Koch—for service in World War I, he began to write plays about Southern rural people, often dealing with the problems of African-American as well as white poor folk. He won a Pulitzer for In Abraham's Bosom (1926), which ends in a lynching. His antiwar play, Johnny Johnson (1936), had music by Kurt Weill. He made a dramatization of Richard Wright's Native Son (1941) in collaboration with the author. Meanwhile, he had effectively invented what he called a "symphonic form of drama," which used music, dance, mime, lighting, costumes, and any other theatrical elements to capture some episode or theme in American history. His first such work, The Lost Colony (1937), about the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island, N.C., would remain his best known; he would write a number of these historical pageants, usually produced outdoors only at the relevant site, but in frequent performances. In addition to his plays, he wrote novels, essays, and film scripts while teaching at the University of North Carolina (1923–44) and serving as president of the American Folk Festival (1934–45).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.