Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Theatre and Evolution from Ibsen to Beckett$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Kirsten Shepherd-Barr

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164702

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164702.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Midcentury American Engagements with Evolution

Midcentury American Engagements with Evolution

(p.203) 7 Midcentury American Engagements with Evolution
Theatre and Evolution from Ibsen to Beckett

Kirsten Shepherd-Barr

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the ways playwrights, especially Susan Glaspell and Thornton Wilder, take the theatrical engagement with evolution in radically innovative directions compared with their predecessors during the mid-twentieth century, and what makes these innovations particularly American. The period (circa 1920–1955) saw profound changes in evolutionary theory, from the gradual waning of the popularity of eugenics to the rejection of non-Darwinian alternatives to the consolidation of the genetics–natural selection camps into the Modern Synthesis. For almost this entire period, Glaspell experimented in a wide range of theatrical forms with both non-Darwinian and Darwinian thinking, and she, Wilder, and a range of other playwrights take the theatrical engagement with evolution in a variety of new and sometimes-startling directions and modes. This chapter also considers the connection between Bertolt Brecht's theater and his views on evolution and concludes by looking at Eugene O'Neill and other playwrights who explored the implications of Darwinism in very different ways from Glaspell and Wilder.

Keywords:   playwrights, Susan Glaspell, Thornton Wilder, evolution, Bertolt Brecht, theater, Darwinism, Eugene O'Neill

Columbia Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .