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The advent of modern American drama coincides not surprisingly with the predominance of the literary, artistic, and performative modernism that defined the cultural experience in Europe and America between the World Wars. In the words of David Krasner, “To be a modern American dramatist was to be an experimenter … [and Eugene] O’Neill often became immersed in the modernist movements of his time” (“Eugene O’Neill,” 145). O’Neill famously incorporated expressionist effects (in The Emperor Jones  and The Hairy Ape ); Jungian masks (in All God’s Chillun Got Wings , The Great God Brown , and Lazarus Laughed ); Nietzschean philosophy (again, in The Great God Brown); Freudian-style voiceovers speaking the conflicted subconscious (in Strange Interlude ); and neoclassical revivalism shaped along Freudian-Oedipal lines (in Mourning Becomes Electra ).
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Barlow, Judith E. “Introduction.” Machinal. 1928. London: Nick Herne Books, 1993, 2003.
Broun, Heywood. “‘The Emperor Jones’ by O’Neill Gives Chance for Cheers.” New York Tribune, November 4, 1920: 8.
———. Trifles. New York: Frank Shay/Washington Square, 1916.
Kaiser, Georg. From Morn to Midnight. 1912. Trans. Ashley Dukes. 1922. Dramas of Modernism and Their Forerunners. Ed. Montrose J. Moses with Oscar James Campbell. Boston: DC Heath, 1931, 1941. 139–65.
Odets, Clifford. Waiting for Lefty. 1935. Six Plays of Clifford Odets. New York: Grove, 1979. 1–39.
Wilder, Thornton. Our Town: A Play in Three Acts. 1938. New York: Harper & Row, 1957.
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