Introduction & Overview of The Mound Builders

This Study Guide consists of approximately 74 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Mound Builders.
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The Mound Builders Summary & Study Guide Description

The Mound Builders Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading and a Free Quiz on The Mound Builders by Lanford Wilson.

Lanford Wilson's The Mound Builders was first produced on February 2, 1975, in New York City at the Circle Repertory Company. It was directed by Wilson's long-time collaborator and cofounder of the "Circle Rep," Marshall W. Mason. The play explores the conflicts between a team of visiting archeologists who are excavating several early Mississippian mounds and a local man who hopes to make his fortune by developing the land where the mounds are located. As the archeologists ponder and celebrate the dignity of the pre-Columbian people who built the mounds, they overlook the humanity of the people alive around them. The play is presented as a series of flashbacks, as August Howe, the chief archeologist, dictates notes about his slides from a recently ended expedition.

Wilson has said several times that The Mound Builders is his own favorite among his plays. It has not been his most successful play, either commercially or critically, in part because the issues and connections between the characters are so complicated and subtle that audiences miss much of what is going on. Wilson revised the play for a Circle Rep revival in 1986, deleting the character of Kirsten, August's daughter, but reviewers were still lukewarm. Readers of the published play (which is the 1975 version) have been able to better appreciate the play's richness. Though not currently in print as a separate volume, The Mound Builders is part of the collection Lanford Wilson: Collected Works Volume II 1970-1983. 

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The Mound Builders from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.