RIP August Wilson

August Wilson

Photo albums from his plays are here.

“I asked him what he had read there, expecting to hear a familiar litany of African American writers. To my astonishment—the 92nd Street Y’s archive videotape must show me nearly falling off mychair—he answered, “Ruth Benedict,” and after I had caught my breath, we found ourselves discussing the whole panoply of his plays in the context of cultural anthropology. The scientific and systematic aspects of August’s approach became abruptly visible to me: Look at the use of social-science parameters in the opening scene of Fences, or the constant playing on superstition and stereotype in The Piano Lesson. There are many such surprises still to be discovered in August’s plays.” (From August Wilson 1945-2005, an article from villagevoice by M. Feingold.)

Ruth Benedict made a great impression on Yukio Mishima as well.
Like Mishima August Wilson was erudite and a warrior.

At fifteen August Wilson quit school when he was unjustly treated by a teacher.
“Over the next four years, by his own estimation, he read three hundred books, spending as many as five hours a day in the library. He read everything—sociology, anthropology, theology, fiction. “The world opened up,” he says. “I could wander through the stacks. I didn’t need anyone to teach me. All you had to do was have an interest and a willingness to extract the information from the book.” It was about this time that Wilson began to see himself as a kind of warrior, surviving unapologetically on his own terms.”
Being Here and Gone, from New Yorker on Wilson by John Lahr.

“He made me the writer I am today”, Kwame Kwei-Armah pays a tribute to August Wilson.

Last saw him on Charlie Rose show, he stood firm and corrected Charlie’s lack of grasp on the current situation. (the interview here)