Brenda Murphy

The Provincetown Players and the Culture of Modernity
Journal Articles
CV/ Resume
After the Voyage
Becoming Carlotta
Theatre of Tennessee Williams

The Provincetown Players and the Culture of Modernity.
  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

This book details the vital role that was played by the Provincetown Players as a major cultural institution in Greenwich Village from 1916 to 1922, when American Modernism was conceived and developed. Describing the varied and often contentious response to modernity among the Players, Murphy reveals the central contribution of the group of poets around Alfred Kreymborg’s Others magazine, including William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Mina Loy, and Djuna Barnes, and such modernist artists as Marguerite and William Zorach, Charles Demuth, and Brör Nordfeldt, to the Players’ developing modernist aesthetics.  The impact of their modernist art and ideas on such central Provincetown figures as Eugene O’Neill, Susan Glaspell, and Edna St. Vincent Millay and a second generation of artists, such as and e. e. cummings and Edmund Wilson, who wrote plays for the Provincetown Playhouse, is evident in Murphy’s close analysis of more than thirty plays.


Among the plays analyzed in detail are Eugene O'Neill, The Hairy Ape, The Emperor Jones, Bound East for Cardiff,  Where the Cross is Made, Thirst, Gold; Susan Glaspell, The Verge, Trifles, Bernice, The People, Suppressed Desires (with George Cram Cook); Djuna Barnes, An Irish Triangle, Kurzy of the Sea, Three from the Earth; Edna St. Vincent Millay, Aria da Capo, Two Slatterns and a King; Neith Boyce, Constancy, Enemies, Winter's Night; e. e. cummings, Him; John Reed, The Eternal Quadrangle, Freedom: A Prison Play; Wallace Stevens, Three Travelers Watch a Sunrise; Edmund Wilson, The Crime in the Whistler Room; Mary Carolyn Davies, The Slave with Two Faces; Alfred Kreymborg, Jack's House: A Cubic Play, Lima Beans, Manikin and Minikin, Vote the New Moon;  Louise Bryant, The Game.

More information on the book at the Cambridge University Press Website

Link to this book at

Link to a review of this book by Marcia Noe in the Eugene O'Neill Review.



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