Accelerated Grimace: Expressionism in the American Drama of the 1920s

Accelerated Grimace: Expressionism in the American Drama of the 1920s

Accelerated Grimace: Expressionism in the American Drama of the 1920s

Accelerated Grimace: Expressionism in the American Drama of the 1920s

Synopsis

In 1920Ezra Pound wrote: "The Age demanded an image / Of its accelerated grimace," which in the instance of American drama of the 1920s,Valgemae shows, was expressionism. Valgemae goes on to trace the exciting new movement in the theatre and to demonstrate its continuing and vital influence on the theatre today. Thus the book provides an invaluable guide to much of twentieth-century theatre in America.

Excerpt

Dawn was breaking over the housetops on Washington Square as two young men stopped for a moment by the fountain to bid each other good-bye. Both were in the frame of mind which is called happy for a long time after the real enjoyment that belongs to mild potations and unstinted argument and song is evaporated. Though neither had taken enough to intoxicate, they held each other closely embraced, keeping up by a tacit effort the convivial spirit which, so far, had inspired the meetings of the Expressionists.

This might well be a description of New York's Greenwich Village in the decade following the explosive Armory Show of modern art in 1913, as two bohemians are leaving an "Evening" at Mabel Dodge's famed salon. Or it might be a romantic account of the Provincetown Players in the 1920s, or even of the Theatre Guild, which in its early years produced Continental experimentalists, or of the New Playwrights' Theatre, active when the expressionist movement in the American drama had reached its height. Actually, it is the opening paragraph of Charles DeKay novel The Bohemian, which was published in 1878, decades before the birth of expressionism as a historically recorded aesthetic force.

In less than fifty years, DeKay's fictional account of a small group of writers, artists, and bohemians who called themselves the Expressionists and haunted the environs of New York's Washington Square became a reality -- at . . .

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