Technology in American Drama, 1920-1950: Soul and Society in the Age of the Machine

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003 - 167 من الصفحات
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This study explores the relationship between humans and machines during an age when technology became increasingly domesticated and accepted as an index to the American dream. The marriage between dramatic art and dramatic technology stems from the physical realities of staging and from the intimate connection of technology with human labor inside and outside the household. This book examines how American dramatists of the 1920s drew upon European Expressionism and innovative staging techniques to develop their characters and themes, and how later playwrights, such as Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, established the American dramatic canon when technology had become a conventional and integral component of domestic life.

Technology in American Drama, 1920-1950, explores the relationship between humans and machines during an age when technology became increasingly domesticated and accepted as an index to the American dream. The marriage between dramatic art and dramatic technology stems from both the physical realities of staging and the intimate connection of technology with human labor inside and outside the household. Technology shapes and defines the values of the soul, individually and collectively, in addition to producing the external environment in which people live. This book studies how playwrights of the era reflected the changing role of technology in American society.

Drawing on the experiments of European Expressionism, American dramatists of the 1920s found new techniques for developing character and theme, along with innovative staging devices, such as the threatening machines in Elmer Rice's The Adding Machine, Sophie Treadwell's Machinal, and Eugene O'Neill's Dynamo. By the time Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller established the canon of American drama, technology was no longer an impersonal force to be resisted, but a conventional and integral component of domestic life. In examining these dramatists and their works, this book provides an insightful analysis of a largely neglected topic.

 

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المحتويات

Introduction
1
The Americanization of Expressionism The Hairy Ape 1922 and The Adding Machine 1923
11
Sensualizing and Sanctifying Technology Machinal 1928 The Subway 1929 and Dynamo 1929
33
Theatre of the Thirties Machines to Socialize the Soul Waiting for Lefty 1935 Altars of Steel 1937 and O Pyramids 1933
69
Balancing the Nuclear and the Greater Human Family The Skin of Our Teeth 1942 and All My Sons 1947
95
Emotionally and Thematically Integrated Technology A Streetcar Named Desire 1947 and Death of a Salesman 1949
111
Conclusion
143
Works Cited
149
Index
159
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حول المؤلف (2003)

Dennis G. Jerz is Assistant Professor of English at University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, where he studies literary representations of interactions between humans and machines. He has published a computer simulation of the motion of pageant wagons in the medieval York Corpus Christi pageant, articles about teaching English via the Web, and an annotated bibliography of scholarship on text-based computer games.

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