Women, Modernism, and Performance is an interdisciplinary study that looks at a variety of texts and modes of performance in order to clarify the position of women within - and in relation to - modern theatre history. Considering drama, fiction, and dance, as well as a range of performance events such as suffrage demonstrations, lectures, and legal trials, Penny Farfan expands on theatre historical narratives that note the centrality of female characters in male-authored modern plays but that do not address the efforts of women artists to develop alternatives both to mainstream theatre practice and to the patriarchal avant garde. Focusing on Henrik Ibsen, Elizabeth Robins, Ellen Terry, Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, Edith Craig, Radclyffe Hall, and Isadora Duncan, Farfan identifies different objectives, strategies, possibilities, and limitations of feminist-modernist performance practice and suggests how the artists in question transformed the representation of gender in art and life.
"...marks the culmination of a decade of research and will doubtless open new avenues of thought for theatre historians, performance theorists, literary scholars, and anyone interested in what the author calls 'feminist performance practice in the modernist context'." -English Literature in Transition, Michel W. Pharand, Hokkaido Bunkyo University "...the text provides a fascinating and fresh lookat midern theatre history and serves as a provocative model for historical research." - Margaret F. Savilonis, independent scholar "Farfan's judicious reappraisal of her modernist revolutionaries--we might think of them as General Gabler's daughters--makes an invaluable contribution to feminist theatre history." Letters in Canada 2004 Andrew Sofer "Penny Farfan's new interdisciplinary study, Women, Modernism, and Performance broadens the definition of performance beyond what some readers may expect, but the payoff that comes from her series of linked essays will excite those interested in any of her title terms. Farfan brackets these essays effectively, introducing the scholars of feminist studies, modernism, and theatre with which her interpretations most resonate, while also revealing the architecture of the book for the reader." - Kate Egerton, Indiana University South Bend