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Title: Theatrics of modernity : incidental, impromptu, and everyday performance in early twentieth-century Manhattan
Author: Fursland, Rosalind Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 2222
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis argues that, catalysed by technological and architectural developments, as well as by altering moral codes of conduct, by the early twentieth century, Manhattan had become a nexus of spectacle, its culturally distinct districts and numerous heterotopic spaces providing quasi stage-sets for impromptu and everyday performance. The theatre extended its embrace across the modern metropolis and conceptual stages could be found almost anywhere and everywhere: the subway, the elevated railway, fire-escapes, roof-gardens, shop windows and skyscrapers. These unofficial stages took their place alongside the busy lives of city dwellers. Using examples from literature, as well as elements of magazine culture, cinema, theatre, visual art, photography and music, this interdisciplinary thesis demonstrates the ways in which everyday theatre came to be played out day-to-day in the districts of Greenwich Village, Harlem and the Lower East Side. I explore how performative language and themes infiltrated mass culture, as literary and artistic representations of the city intermingled reality with the theatrical, often providing a smoke-screen for harsher truths. I incorporate works from a cross-section of writers including Djuna Barnes, Floyd Dell, Nella Larsen, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Langston Hughes, Mike Gold and Anzia Yezierska, as well as artists such as John Sloan, Aaron Douglas and Jerome Myers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: British Association for American Studies ; Eccles Centre for American Studies ; University of Birmingham
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: F001 United States local history ; HT Communities. Classes. Races ; PN Literature (General) ; PS American literature