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Chapter 4 - Drama

From Literary Fantasy to Gritty Realism

from Part I - Genre and Medium

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2021

Tim Dayton
Affiliation:
Kansas State University
Mark W. Van Wienen
Affiliation:
Northern Illinois University
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Summary

The response to the Great War in both the commercial and the non-profit theater in the United States was substantial, with different trends emerging during the periods of U. S. neutrality, intervention, and postwar reflection. Although the Espionage Act squelched all but the most propagandistic pro-war plays and reviews, opposition to the war and the country’s entry into it was feely dramatized alongside pro-war plays before its passage. The country’s most celebrated playwright, Eugene O’Neill, explored the effects of war trauma during the war and its aftermath in The Sniper (1917), Shell Shock (1918), Strange Interlude (1928), and Mourning Becomes Electra (1931). In the decade after the war, Maxwell Anderson and Laurence Stallings’s What Price Glory (1924) and its film adaptations, established a consciously realistic perspective on the war from the soldier’s point of view in America’s cultural consciousness. After the Armistice, pacifist views also found effective expression in the fantasy and historical analogy of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Aria da Capo (1919) and Robert Sherwood’s The Road to Rome (1927).

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Drama
  • Edited by Tim Dayton, Kansas State University, Mark W. Van Wienen, Northern Illinois University
  • Book: A History of American Literature and Culture of the First World War
  • Online publication: 23 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108615433.005
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  • Drama
  • Edited by Tim Dayton, Kansas State University, Mark W. Van Wienen, Northern Illinois University
  • Book: A History of American Literature and Culture of the First World War
  • Online publication: 23 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108615433.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Drama
  • Edited by Tim Dayton, Kansas State University, Mark W. Van Wienen, Northern Illinois University
  • Book: A History of American Literature and Culture of the First World War
  • Online publication: 23 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108615433.005
Available formats
×