Guide to the Papers of James L. Stefenssen , circa 1980 - 1992Manuscript MS-1136

Biography

James Leslie Steffensen was born on July 5, 1930, in Santa Ana, California. He earned a BA at Pomona College in 1952, winning a Rhodes Scholarship that carried him to Merten College, Oxford where, in 1954, he received a second BA. He returned to the United States in 1955, and studied play writing at the Yale University School of Drama and worked as a management trainee at NBC-TV. After completion of his studies he worked as a free lance writer and editor and wrote four volumes of history for younger readers. His play "The Prior Recollection" was produced off-off Broadway in 1964. In 1965, he began teaching English at Wesleyan University, taking a sabbatical in 1971, in order to return to Oxford where he received his D. Phil. that same year. In 1973, he became the director of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program at Wesleyan. He joined the Dartmouth faculty in 1980, as professor of drama and was chair of the drama department from 1981-1984, and 1987-1990. Among his scholarly achievement was the much imitated notion of a scene book used by actors for workshops and auditions, publishing two volumes of "Great Scenes from the World Theatre" and the complete edition of an eighteenth century English playwright "The Dramatic Works of George Lillo" which was published in 1992. Stefenssen died on October 27, 1999 in Hanover, New Hampshire at the age of 69.

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