Brutal Phantoms: Modernism, Anti-theatricality, and Irish Drama Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Bogucki, Michael
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • This dissertation analyzes the fate of realist theatrical conventions in the work of George Moore, John M. Synge, Bernard Shaw, W.B. Yeats, and James Joyce. These writers reconfigured the conditions of theater so as to avoid the debased forms of expression they associated with the performance practices of British touring companies and with commercialism generally. Each playwright experimented with texts, performers, audiences, and theater spaces so as to foreground and criticize those aspects of the material stage they found inauthentic, sensational, and excessive. Recent narratives of the relationship between modernism and theater have rightly focused on the way literary or imagist avant-gardes generate new modes of innovative, radicalized theatrical display by, in effect, taking the stage outdoors or into the text. By locating these writers` anxieties about theatricality in the overlapping histories of the Irish Revival and the economies of transatlantic theater production, I argue that the theater itself was often the site of its own most sophisticated critiques, and that the strategies these late naturalist and early modernist writers develop resonate with contemporary questions in Irish studies and performance theory about the status of live theater.
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  • McGowan, John
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