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Playing as Living: Gold-Diggers and Con Artists as Vital Theatrical Subjects in Modern American Literature

Playing as Living: Gold-Diggers and Con Artists as Vital Theatrical Subjects in Modern American Literature
1 Devonshire Place, Room 208N
Time: Jan 27th, 3:00 pm End: Jan 27th, 5:00 pm
Interest Categories: United States Studies, English and Drama (UTM), English (UTSC), English (FAS), Drama, Theatre, Performance Studies (FAS), Critical Theory, Comparative Literature (FAS), Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (UTM), Arts, Culture and Media (UTSC), 1900-1950
Talk by Jackie Rothstein, PhD candidate, Department of English

The Centre for the Study of the United States is pleased to present:

Jackie Rothstein, Ph.D. candidate, Department of English

Playing as Living: Gold-diggers and Con Artists as Vital Theatrical Subjects in Modern American Literature

Organized by the CSUS Graduate Student Workshop; co-sponsored by the Centre for the Study of the United States at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.

Given the early twentieth century's continued association with aesthetic modernism, critical engagements with the theatre and theatricality in this period are usually positioned in terms of anti-theatricality. Theatre scholar Martin Puchner has argued (Stage Fright) that in fact the key to Modernism’s overall aesthetic lies specifically in its opposition to the theatre. Rothstein's paper reads against the grain by drawing attention to representations of theatricality as vitality, as something positive rather than suspect. Because the vital theatrical subject is often most visible in comedy, comedic works provide a place to begin to frame a more nuanced discussion of theatricality beyond its frequent dismissal as “inauthentic” and excessive.

Jackie Rothstein is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of English at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation, “Acting Up: Theatricality as Vitality in Modern American Literature” looks at novels, plays, and films in the period 1920–1950 for the way in which they present theatricality as a way of living life with energy, creativity, and passion.

Registration is required for this event. Please register here.

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Photo Credit: Still from Trouble in Paradise, d. Ernst Lubitsch, Paramount (1932)

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