Bigsby, Christopher, ed. The Cambridge Companion to August Wilson. Essays on each play and on recurrent themes. All the top Wilson scholars are represented.
Bloom, Harold. 2009. August Wilson (Bloom’s Modern Critical Views). Another collection of essays on Wilson plays and themes.
Borges, Jorge Luis. Professor Borges: A Course in English Literature. New addition to the list. A posthumous collection of lectures Borges gave at the University of Argentina spanning the history and range of English literature.
Bryer, Jackson R. and Hartig, Mary C., eds. Conversations with August Wilson. Interviews and conversations that provide enlightening background on the plays. I loved this collection!
Campbell, Mary Schmidt. An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden. Bearden’s collages inspired at least two plays in the cycle.Wilson often cites Bearden’s influence.
Jones, Leroi. Blues People. One of Wilson’s major influences, along with Bearden, Borges, and the Blues itself.
Muhammad, Elijah. Message to the Blackman in America. Wilson credits Muhammad with supplying the first mythology (origin myths) for black Americans.
Nadel, Alan. 1994. May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama of August Wilson. Essays by leading Wilson scholars on plays and cross-cutting themes.
Nadel, Alan. 2010. Completing the Twentieth-Century Cycle. A continuation of essays on the later plays.
Nadel, Alan. 2019. The Theatre of August Wilson. Next on my list. The major themes and motifs that unite Wilson’s ten-play cycle about African American life in each decade of the twentieth century.
Schwartzman, Myron. Romare: His Life and Art. Full length study of Romare Bearden, from his birth in North Carolina to his youth in New York and Pittsburgh, his student days in Paris, and his return to New York. Forward by August Wilson.
Shannon, Sandra. The Dramatic Vision of August Wilson. Extensive essays on the first six plays in the order written, plus an unabridged interview with August Wilson makes this volume a plus! I reference this volume often in discussions.
Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. August Wilson: A Literary Companion. A dictionary-type listing of all the characters and themes of the first nine plays (published prior to the completion of Radio Golf) along with a multi-generational timeline of all the events in the plays. Very helpful.
Temple, Riley. Aunt Ester’s Children Redeemed. Short critical analyses of each play in chronological order. Highlights religious perspectives and themes in each play. Recommended for the course but not required.
Whitaker, Mark. The Untold Story of Smoketown: The Other Great Black Renaissance. Everything you ever wanted to know about Pittsburgh. Lots of context for the plays in the cycle.
Wilkerson, Isabel. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Places the migration to Pittsburgh and to the Hill District in historical context.