Lawson, John Howard

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.
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