Welcome to AugustWilson.net. This website serves as an archive of information relating to the life and works of Mr. August Wilson.
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Dr. Mike Downing and I teach English and Professional Writing at Kutztown University of PA.
I am the editor and webmaster of this site.
I have been studying the works of Mr. August Wilson since about 1992. At the time, I was living in Pittsburgh, teaching composition and working on my PhD.
As luck would have it, I was also a season-ticket holder for many years at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, where Mr. Wilson’s plays have been celebrated for nearly two decades.
As a result of my situation, I had a front-row seat to enjoy the emergence of this great talent. Mr. Wilson’s ear for music was amazing, his sense of language precise, and his characters were larger-than-life. It was fantastic. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was my first Wilson play; I’ve seen all of them since (and some more than once). It has been a wonderful journey.
So, in 1997, I completed a dissertation entitled: Restoring the Myths: Converting Stereotype to Archetype in Five Plays of August Wilson. The dissertation explores how Wilson constructs an African American mythology by converting pejorative racist stereotypes into sacred archetypes. The archetypes then come to serve the emerging mythology in new and powerful ways, creating new identities, new relationships, and new subtleties of African American consciousness.
Currently, I am working on two books. The first book applies my thesis to the first five plays (as written) of Mr. Wilson, and the second book considers the final five plays. I hope to have the first book published sometime in 2008.
So, that’s my background.
But let’s get back to the problem this website addresses: Over the last two decades, I have watched articles relating to Mr. Wilson disappear from the Internet as they become out-dated. Play reviews, for example, disappear regularly, as do interviews and biography.
As a Wilson scholar, I felt I needed to act in order to preserve the legacy of this great American playwright. I did not want to see the scholarship disappear into the “bit bucket”—particularly during those years when Mr. Wilson walked the Earth.
The purpose of this website, therefore, is to provide an archive of primary documents relating to the life and works of American playwright August Wilson.
Note: When I select an article for posting, I make a good faith attempt to contact the owner of the article to obtain permission to publish. No on has denied my requests to date. Thus far, no one has objected and no one has charged any fee. I am very grateful for such generosity.
I pay for the site out of my own pocket and accept no advertising revenue. It is a labor of love. It is an effort to keep August Wilson scholarship and primary documents alive for future generations.
If you have anything to contribute, please send an email to me (see below). If you are a legal copyright holder and wish to have your work removed from this site, please contact me directly.