Edward Albee 1928–
American dramatist and screenwriter.
With his first play, The Zoo Story, Albee established himself as an avant-garde dramatist with great potential. His succeeding works, The Death of Bessie Smith and The American Dream, remained off-Broadway, but contributed to his growing reputation as one of the leading American figures in absurdist theater. With the Broadway production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Albee received international recognition.
Albee's work addresses the problem of effective intimate communication in a world of increasing personal remoteness and emotional callousness. Critics have praised Albee's ability to use common speech and idiom to generate dramatic tension. In his later plays, however, such as Tiny Alice and Seascape, the language has been heard as rather artificially elaborate and formal. Albee's recent play, The Lady from Dubuque, disappointed many critics by its unfocussed meaning. This new play, however, does employ the cocktail party setting, verbal asperity, and violence which contributed to the power of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
(See also CLC, Vols. 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 11, 13; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 5-8, rev. ed.; Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 8; and Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 7.)