In addition to several works of her own, she co-authored the play Porgy with her husband DuBose Heyward , adapting it from his novel by the same name. After graduating from high school, she attended Harvard University , where she studied to become a playwright. They married in September and she changed her name. When her husband was writing his novel Porgy , Dorothy Heyward saw dramatic possibilities in the story. She convinced him that it would work as a play. They collaborated to adapt it to the stage, making sure the play's company be cast with only black actors. Nonetheless, the play was a success and the Theatre Guild production ran for performances. This was adapted as a film by the same name in Throughout her career, Heyward wrote many plays, most of which did not achieve the same level of success as Porgy. Her play, Jonica, co-written in with playwright Moss Hart , as well as her plays, South Pacific, Cinderelative, and Set My People Free were all performed on Broadway, but were ultimately short-lived.
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In , with John Bennett and Hervey Allen, Heyward founded the Poetry Society of South Carolina, an organization that initiated the great southern literary renaissance of the early twentieth century. Novelist, librettist. Both parents were dispossessed aristocrats from the upstate who had come to Charleston to better their opportunities. Without a college education, he took the only honorable route open to him, as a Heyward, and went into the insurance business with a partner. The agency was successful, and once Heyward solidified his financial base, he gave more time to his first love, poetry writing. In , with John Bennett and Hervey Allen, he founded the Poetry Society of South Carolina, an organization that initiated the great southern literary renaissance of the early twentieth century. Shortly after their wedding in New York on September 22, , she convinced him to throw over the insurance business for full-time writing. At her instigation, and calling on the encyclopedic knowledge about Gullah culture possessed by his mentor, John Bennett, Heyward threw caution aside and wrote Porgy , a novel about African American life in Charleston. Revolutionary for its time, the book changed literary depictions of blacks in the United States forever, because in it a white southerner presented African Americans in an honest and realistic way, as opposed to the stereotyped portrayals found in minstrelsy and antebellum narratives. Heyward was mildly ostracized from some quarters of Charleston society for the book, but he took his licks with characteristic grace and self-deprecating humor.
A biography of the proper Charlestonian who wrote of the Gullahs of Catfish Row and inspired a Gershwin masterpiece. In DuBose Heyward was a businessman absorbed in his Charleston heritage. One year later he was the world-famous author of Porgy , the first major southern novel to portray blacks without condescension. Just a decade later George Gershwin had transformed Heyward's book into an opera that would become one of the most enduring masterworks of American music. As a young man Heyward was immersed in the Gullah culture of his city. Especially through his mother, a performer and interpreter of Gullah life in folktale and song, he discovered the gateway into the fascinating world he would immortalize in the characters of Porgy, Bess, Maria, and other denizens of Charleston's Catfish Row. In this full-dress biography Heyward is seen for the first time as a southerner who overcame social restrictions to perceive humanity beyond the class and color lines. Drawing on nearly fifty years of private papers and on previously untapped personal correspondence, this book places Heyward in the social and cultural framework of his time and marks the power and empathy of his extraordinary achievement.
He and his wife Dorothy , a playwright, adapted it as a play of the same name. The couple worked with composer George Gershwin to adapt the work as the opera Porgy and Bess. It was later adapted as a film of the same name. Heyward also wrote poetry and other novels and plays. Heyward was born in in Charleston , South Carolina. He was a descendant of Judge Thomas Heyward, Jr. As a child and young man, Heyward was frequently ill. He contracted polio when he was Two years later he contracted typhoid fever , and the following year fell ill with pleurisy. He described himself as "a miserable student" who was uninterested in learning, and dropped out of high school in his first year at age fourteen, but he had a lifelong and serious interest in literature.