Lawson, John Howard

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


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


Rabkin, G. Drama and Commitment. Bloomington, 1964.
Bruning, E. Das amerikanische Drama der dreissiger Jahre. Berlin, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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