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date: 26 January 2021

(p. ix) Preface

(p. ix) Preface

Jeff Richards was the first person to footnote my research. I was still in graduate school at the time, and it is impossible to describe the thrill of having someone whose work I so admired point to a piece that I had written as worthy of consideration. Over the years that I had the pleasure of knowing him, Jeff remained as I found him from the time of our first encounter at an academic conference in 1998—kind, gracious, encouraging, and collegial. I appreciated the paths he paved for scholars of American theatre and drama, and I was honored that as my work and career progressed, we were able to collaborate on various projects.

The Oxford Handbook of American Drama realizes Jeff’s vision to offer students of American literature, drama, and culture a collection of essays that transcends the merely factual or encyclopedic. Instead the collection presents a series of arguments, debates, and new interpretations of some familiar histories. I hope the collection will be a testament to his vision and a work that ignites new conversations about the field to which he was so devoted.

It was my privilege to help bring the work through its final stages after Jeff’s passing. I thank the authors, Oxford University Press, Jeff’s family, and the two colleagues who assisted me—Jessica Krenek and Michelle Granshaw—for their work, time, patience, and commitment.

Heather S. Nathans (p. x)