Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Mark Richardson

Second Advisor

Dr. Jil C. Larson

Third Advisor

Dr. Terry Williams


This edition presents twenty-one short plays by Ring W. Lardner (1885-1933), most of which have previously been accessible only on microfilm and in special collections. No edition exclusively dedicated to Lardner’s plays has ever been published. Though Lardner is known primarily for his short stories and sports writing, he considered himself to be a playwright and lyricist. Throughout his career he wrote several full-length plays (collaborating with George Cohan and George Kaufman, among others) and hundreds of short plays and sketches from which my collection is derived. Lardner’s sensitive ear for American dialects, praised by H. L. Mencken, Carl Van Doren, and others, combines with his keen eye for the absurd in these short plays, providing a unique view of America’s Teens and Twenties. Included.are representative samples of Lardner’s newspaper plays, written for his “In the Wake of the News” column in the Chicago Tribune (1913-1919), sketches written for the Ziegfeld Follies (1922), and all of the so-called nonsense plays (1922-1931) for which Lardner has received some critical attention. After a brief introduction to the life and dramatic work of Lardner, the twenty-one plays are presented in cleartext, with editorial emendations made to the non-substantive errors. A full listing of emendations and textual variants is recorded. Following the texts of the plays are extensive content notes, a complete and annotated listing of Lardner’s uncollectedshort plays, and a performance list of all of Lardner’s dramatic work.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access