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Modernity Represented in American Drama 1910-1950

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2007, 20(3), pp.109-131
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

우미성 1

1연세대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Woo, MiseongAlthough there have been numerous ways of understanding what modernity is, during the first four decades in the twentieth-century, and in particular during the inter-war period, some of the most significant signs of modernity were visible in the American society. This essay explores some of the ways in which the twentieth-century American playwrights between 1910 to 1950 perceived and responded to the impact of modernity and the ways in which they channelled their observations into the thematic patterns in their representative drama. Modernity should be reassessed within a specific time period and a locale. In the first half of the twentieth-century, American society witnessed rise of capitalism, rapid development of science and technology, urbanization, industrialization, proliferation of mass media, spread of social or community movements, and strong sense of modern individuals.All those modernization processes seemed unstoppable, constantly isolating people from their sense of dignity, freedom, work and family. Negative impacts of modernity, thus, had occupied American playwrights' consciousness. The representative American drama written during 1910-1950 demonstrates the dominant themes such as dualism between tradition and modernity, disenchantment of the society as an antagonist, decontextualized individuals, and alienation of labor. American drama in the first half of the twentieth-century, serving as cultural sign and social commentary, resisted American modernity.

Citation status

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.