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.
Buy Expressionism and Modernism in the American Theatre book by Julia A. Walker from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(228mm x 152mm x 22mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:
Author Biography - Julia A. Walker
Julia Walker is Assistant Professor of English and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.