Literary Prizes Criticism: The Pulitzer Prize - Essay

W. J. Stuckey (essay date 1981)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Stuckey, W. J. “Joseph Pulitzer and His Prizes.” In The Pulitzer Prize Novels: A Critical Backward Look, pp. 3-25. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981.

[In the following excerpt, Stuckey provides biographical and historical context for Joseph Pulitzer, the founder of the Pulitzer Prizes, and for the award itself.]

The life story of Joseph Pulitzer, founder of the Pulitzer prizes in journalism, letters, and music, fits beautifully into a familiar pattern of American success. Pulitzer arrived in this country in 1864 at the age of seventeen, without money and with almost no competence in the English language. By a combination of hard work, shrewdness,...

(The entire section is 6378 words.)

Thomas P. Adler (essay date 1987)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Adler, Thomas P. “The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse—Race.” In Mirror on the Stage: The Pulitzer Plays as an Approach to American Drama, pp. 68-84. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1987.

[In the following excerpt, Adler discusses some Pulitzer Prize-winning plays that dealt with the subject of race relations, noting how the plays reflect their historical context.]

It would be over fifty years after the establishment of the Pulitzers and well over forty years after the first Broadway production of a work by a black writer (Garland Anderson's Appearances in 1925) before a black playwright would receive the drama award. Racial issues,...

(The entire section is 8350 words.)

Thomas P. Adler (essay date 1987)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Adler, Thomas P. “The Political Animal.” In Mirror on the Stage: The Pulitzer Plays as an Approach to American Drama, pp. 85-95. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1987.

[In the following excerpt, Adler analyzes the treatment of American politics in a group of Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, concluding that their authors' lack of inventiveness in dramatic technique reflects their acceptance of the political status quo.]

In his history plays, Shakespeare attempts to define the qualities of the good king, proposing a relationship between the health of the body politic and the moral nature of its rulers. This link was not original with the...

(The entire section is 5268 words.)