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The play "Proof' leads arts Pulitzers

The 2001 Pulitzer Prize for drama went Monday to David Auburn for his play Proof, a family saga about a young woman haunted by the mental collapse of her father.

Proof, which debuted off-Broadway last May, was considered one of the favorites for the honor, along with three-time Pulitzer winner Edward Albee's The Play About the Baby.

The award for biography went to David Levering Lewis for the second volume of his biography of civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois, W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963.

"Thank goodness I'm sitting down," Lewis said from Manhattan. "This is a total surprise. I had been working on a speech I was going to give at Harvard, but I think I'm going to set that aside and stand on my balcony for a while."

His prize marked the first time that the second volume of a previous Pulitzer winner also won the award. Lewis's first volume on Du Bois, covering his life from 1868-1919, won in 1994.

The Pulitzer for history went to Joseph J. Ellis for his book, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. Ellis, a professor of history at Mount Holyoke College, has written five other books on the American Revolution.

The Pulitzer for fiction was awarded to Michael Chabon for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a fanciful tale about comic books. His wife began screaming "Michael! Michael!" after receiving word of his prize at their Berkeley, Calif., home.

"Did I really win?" asked Chabon, a runner-up in the 2000 National Book Critics Circle and PEN/Faulkner Awards. "I had kind of figured it was not my year. My goodness, this is exciting."

Stephen Dunn won the poetry prize for his volume of original verses, Different Hours, his 11th collection.

The Pulitzer for general non-fiction was awarded to Herbert P. Bix for Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. Bix, widely published in the world of Asian study, provoked a rethinking of the Japanese emperor's role in the 20th century, particularly during World War II, with his work.

The music prize was given to John Corigliano for Symphony No. 2 for String Orchestra. The winning piece was a rearrangement of a string quartet he wrote in 1995.