“‘My Beloved Community’: The Provincetown Players and Modernist Drama in the United States” is the title of the panel presented by ISGS members at the inaugural international conference of the French Society of Modernist Studies, entitled Modernist Communities, on April 25-26, 2014, at the University of the Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France. Emeline Jouve (Toulouse 2) chairs the panel which features the following papers:
Jeff Kennedy (Arizona State University): “George Cram Cook’s ‘Beloved Community of Life-Givers’: The Provincetown Players as Communal Experiment”
Drew Eisenhauer (Meaux): “Modernism, Expressionism, and the Avant-Garde: The Provincetown Players and the Birth of Formal Experimentation in the American Theatre”
Beth Wynstra (Babson College): “‘I Must Be a Mere Protective Animal’: The Modern Marriage in the Works of the Provincetown Players”
Noelia Hernando-Real (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid): “The First World War in Europe and in America: War Plays by Women Modernist Playwrights of the Provincetown Players”
The aim of this two-day conference is to foster discussion on communities in the modernist period as discursive constructs and historical practices. More than a decade after the landmark work of Jessica Berman (who is to deliver one of the keynote addresses) on “the politics of community” in modernist fiction, this conference explores the various ways in which communities were configured across genres and artistic media, while acknowledging the grounds of their historical and cultural specificity. By presenting far-ranging approaches to the concepts, forms, and historical practices of community, the goal of this conference is to map out the plurality of this phenomenon, while recording its persisting elusiveness. One of the premiere modernist communities, the Provincetown Players of course had to be represented and the joint members of the International Susan Glaspell and Eugene O’Neill Societies rose to the challenge.
With this conference the French Society of Modernist Studies — Société d’Etudes Modernistes — hopes to bring together scholars from all countries and strengthen collaborations between French and international researchers. We also hope this event marks the beginning of continuing collaboration between our groups. Congratulations to our panel presenters and chair for representing us so well.