A beginning rhizomatic schematic of the August Wilson American Century Cycle

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The decades of the 20th century covered by each play are listed clockwise, beginning top and center with Gem of the Ocean, set in 1904. The blue lines with arrows indicate the order in which the plays were written, beginning with Jitney. Still working on the meaning & frequency of lines that cross.

Characteristics of the rhizome related to August Wilson’s plays (hypothetical).

Connections. The connections between plays/decades is just as important as the plays/decades themselves.

Heterogeneity. Any play can be connected to any other play or any series of plays.

Multiplicity. There is no original order for the plays, no prior unity.

Assignifying rupture. Connections between plays fail, rupture and remake themselves in various combinations.

Cartography and decalcomania. Discussions of themes can be entered via any play, mapped to any other play, and can conclude at any play.