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Expressionism and Modernism in the American Theatre By Julia A. Walker (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

Expressionism and Modernism in the American Theatre

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This study addresses the direct influence on American theatre of new technologies at the turn of the twentieth century. Walker argues that a specific form of drama - expressionism - developed in response to these technologies and to popular fears about them.

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Expressionism and Modernism in the American Theatre Summary


Expressionism and Modernism in the American Theatre: Bodies, Voices, Words by Julia A. Walker (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

Although often dismissed as a minor offshoot of the better-known German movement, expressionism on the American stage represents a critical phase in the development of American dramatic modernism. Situating expressionism within the context of early twentieth-century American culture, Walker demonstrates how playwrights who wrote in this mode were responding both to new communications technologies and to the perceived threat they posed to the embodied act of meaning. At a time when mute bodies gesticulated on the silver screen, ghostly voices emanated from tin horns, and inked words stamped out the personality of the hand that composed them, expressionist playwrights began to represent these new cultural experiences by disarticulating the theatrical languages of bodies, voices and words. In doing so, they not only innovated a new dramatic form, but redefined playwriting from a theatrical craft to a literary art form, heralding the birth of American dramatic modernism.

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Expressionism and Modernism in the American Theatre Reviews


'Julie A. Walker has ... done a great service for perplexed scholars like myself in demonstrating a much more plausible heritage for these key American plays ... Walker's book is clearly structured, forcefully argued, and generally very well written. ... this is a compelling, intriguing book to be recommended to anyone with an interest in American theatrical modernism.' New Theatre Quarterly

About Julia A. Walker (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)


Julia Walker is Assistant Professor of English and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Table of Contents


List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I: 1. Bodies: actors and artistic agency on the nineteenth century stage; 2. Voices: oratory, expression and the text/performance split; 3. Words: copyright and the creation of the performance 'text'; Part II: Introduction; 4. The 'unconscious autobiography' of Eugene O'Neill; 5. Elmer Rice and the cinematic imagination; 6. 'I love a parade!' John Howard Lawson's minstrel burlesque of the American dream; 7. Sophie Treadwell's 'pretty hands'; Epilogue. 'Modern Times'; Works cited.

Additional information

GOR010830685
Expressionism and Modernism in the American Theatre: Bodies, Voices, Words by Julia A. Walker (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Julia A. Walker (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Cambridge Studies in American Theatre and Drama
Used - Very Good
Paperback
Cambridge University Press
2009-02-19
316
0521108918
9780521108911
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
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