Modernism has long since ceased to have a single meaning—and that is a very good thing. Scholarship on a multiplicity of modernisms, emerging outside the geographic and historical parameters that once defined the term and the field, has greatly extended scholars’ understanding of modernity and its cultural formations. One of many salutary outcomes of the field’s twenty-first-century transformations is a questioning of the basic premises on which European, British, and American artists and thinkers first defined modernism. In Baroque Modernity Joseph Cermatori trains an acute critical eye on modernism’s theatrical inheritance and finds it far more ornate—baroque, in fact—than previously reported. In this deeply researched, theoretically sharp, and superbly written book, Cermatori argues that the elaborate, sensorially supercharged, allegorical spectacles of early modern European theater exerted a crucial influence on major modernist thinkers and writers—even those among the avant-gardes who, like the Italian futurists, disavowed the art of all previous...
Baroque Modernity: An Aesthetics of Theater
Jennifer Buckley is associate professor of English and theatre arts at the University of Iowa. She is author of Beyond Text: Theater and Performance in Print after 1900 (2019), which won the 2020 Outstanding Book Award from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Her current book project is provisionally titled Act without Words: Speechless Performance on Modern Stages.
Jennifer Buckley; Baroque Modernity: An Aesthetics of Theater. Modern Language Quarterly 1 September 2023; 84 (3): 365–368. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-10574846
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