In Tense Future (2015), Paul Saint-Amour advances the concept of “weak theory”—not only for thinking about the expanding field of modernism, but for finding a response to “[t]hat exemplary strong theory”: total war.  The idea of “weak theory” has since taken on critical momentum of its own, with a Modernism/modernity special issue in 2018 putting a name to an array of...
Jul 22, 2020
In 1954, Maya Angelou performed in a production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess that toured through Italy. This United States-sponsored initiative brought African American performance to European stages in an effort to combat Soviet propaganda about American racism. As Melanie Masterton Sherazi shows in her contribution to this cluster, Angelou’s own memoirs of the trip recall not...
Oct 15, 2019
The crown jewel in the 1937 Hollywood musical Ready, Willing, & Able is an elaborate song-and-dance number called “Too Marvelous for Words.” A lovestruck male theater producer, attempting to write a love letter by dictation, is surrounded by an army of female secretaries: hanging on his words, clinging to ladders, sitting at typewriters. As the music picks up tempo, the...
Jul 28, 2020
How did people learn to be queer in an era before stable identities, lifestyles, or representations of sexual outsiders were readily available or, for that matter, before they even existed?
Jun 8, 2020