Drama According to Alexander Bakshy, 1916-1946


Russo, James R.-an independent scholar. He holds a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University and has taught theater and drama courses there and at the University of Richmond.

A Russian Jew who spent most of his life in England and America, Alexander Bakshy (1885-1949) was a theater critic and literary translator. He was also an innovative theorist who applied to theater the discourse of self-reflexive modernism, prizing anti-illusionist medium-awareness. Indeed, he was something of a pioneer in the area of “spectatorship” and medium-awareness, going so far as to argue in favor of the modernist idea of overt presentationalism on stage as opposed to disingenuous representationalism. One can see this presentational, or anti-illusionist, argument at work in a number of pieces in Drama According to Alexander Bakshy, 1916-1946—an edited collection that also includes a lengthy contextualizing introduction and a comprehensive bibliography of this Russian émigré’s writings.

Alexander Bakshy’s writings deserve to be better known, for his sound critical-theoretical approach remains relevant to contemporary aesthetic debate. Like many performance-minded scholars today, Bakshy had a daredevil willingness to assess the theater seriously and to encourage the kind of experimentation that promised to advance the expressiveness of dramatic art. Yet surprisingly, the full applicability of many of his pioneering ideas about the drama has yet to be tested—a disheartening state of affairs that, one hopes, the present volume will help to remedy.

Performing Arts, Theater, Literature, Russia, Modernism
Release Date: 
September 15, 2021
978-1680532760 Hardcover
Trim Size: 

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