A Literary Biography
287 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Sales Date: April 1, 2003
287 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for The Young Man from Atlanta and Academy Awards for the screen adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird and the original screenplay Tender Mercies, as well as the recipient of an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay of The Trip to Bountiful and the William Inge Lifetime Achievement Award, Horton Foote is one of America's most respected writers for stage and screen. The deep compassion he shows for his characters, the moral vision that infuses his social commentary, and the kindness and humanity that Foote himself radiates have also made him one of our most revered artists—the father-figure who understands our longings for home, for human connections, and for certainty in a world largely bereft of these.
This literary biography thoroughly investigates how Horton Foote's life and worldview have shaped his works for stage, television, and film. Tracing the whole trajectory of Foote's career from his small-town Texas upbringing to the present day, Charles Watson demonstrates that Foote has created a fully imagined mythical world from the materials supplied by his own and his family's and friends' lives in Wharton, Texas, in the early twentieth century. Devoting attention to each of Foote's major works in turn, he shows how this world took shape in Foote's writing for the New York stage, Golden Age television, Hollywood films, and in his nine-play masterpiece, The Orphan's Home Cycle. Throughout, Watson's focus on Foote as a master playwright and his extensive use of the dramatist's unpublished correspondence make this literary biography required reading for all who admire the work of Horton Foote.
~John Herbert Roper, author of C. Vann Woodward: A Southern Historian and His Critics
[This book] is highly accessible and fascinating, a real page-turner. . . . Without becoming at all simplistic, it explains an important artist in a believable, concrete, and usable way, one that will delight non-specialists but also deeply instruct specialists.
- 1 Foote and Wharton, Texas
- 2 Formative Years and the Call of Acting
- 3 Finding a Vocation: From Acting to Writing
- 4 Texas Playwright on Broadway and Tennessee Williams
- 5 Return to Broadway: The Chase
- 6 The Golden Age of Television
- 7 The Trip to Bountiful: Three Versions
- 8 Christian Science
- 9 People and Themes
- 10 Country Music: The Traveling Lady, Baby, the Rain Must Fall, and Tender Mercies
- 11 Adaptations of Harper Lee, Faulkner, O'Connor, and Steinbeck
- 12 The Orphans' Home Cycle, Part 1
- 13 The Orphans' Home Cycle, Part 2
- 14 One-Acts of the 1980s: Disintegrating Homes and Displaced Persons
- 15 Greek Tragedy and Full-Length Plays across the Hudson
- 16 Amazing Climax: The Young Man from Atlanta
- Conclusion: The Achievement of Horton Foote
- Selected Bibliography
The publication of Horton Foote was made possible by the support of the Jack and Doris Smothers Endowment in Texas History, Life, and Culture.