Publication details

Theatres of Mind : Staging Psychological Science in Modernist American Theatre



Year of publication 2019
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Hradec Králové Journal of Anglophone Studies
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Modernist theatre; American theatre; psychology; Sigmund Freud; science shows
Description The early years of the 20th century witnessed a transformation of American drama and theatre from a mere entertainment into a mature modern art form. This paper looks at a tradition of the 19th century wonder show presenting science as entertainment, and shows how Modernist American drama and theatre adopted aspects of this tradition and transformed them. It focuses mainly on sciences of the human mind that experienced a tumultuous development in the era. The Witching Hour by Augustus Thomas will serve as an example of a modern realist play that presents bogus science – telepathy. Then, the paper will identify introduction of psychoanalysis to the United States and Freud’s visit in 1909 as a turning point in approach to psychology. Plays such as Overtones by Alice Gerstenberg and Suppressed Desires by Susan Glaspell (in collaboration with George Cram Cook) mark the beginning of a more experimental approach to psychology in the theatre.
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