Anthony Domestico

Anthony Domestico is an assistant professor of literature at Purchase College, SUNY and the books columnist for Commonweal. His book, Poetry and Theology in the Modernist Period​​, is forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press. You can view his Purchase College faculty page here, and his website containing his book reviews and essays here.    

Adolphe Appia

by Pericles Lewis The Swiss theorist Adolphe Appia (1862-1928), like the English actor and set designer Gordon Craig, created methods for implementing Richard Wagner’s vision of the “total work of art” in the theater. Appia, in The Staging of Wagnerian Music Drama (1895) and Music and the Art of Theatre (1899), proposed to banish painted… Continue Reading Adolphe Appia

Sylvia Beach

by Elyse Graham During the nineteen-twenties, the literary capital of the United States was a bookstore on the Left Bank in Paris, on an alleyway off the Boulevard St. Germain. The store was called Shakespeare and Company; out front hung a shingle bearing a portrait of the Bard. The front windows displayed rows of covers… Continue Reading Sylvia Beach

Edward Thomas

Biography by Emily Cersonsky Edward Thomas (1878-1917) is best known as a poet, despite the fact that he wrote all of his poems during the years 1914-17, and spent most of his life trying to eke a living from his work as a literary critic and writer of the English countryside. Born in London to… Continue Reading Edward Thomas

August Strindberg

Biography by Pericles Lewis The Swedish playwright August Strindberg (1849-1912) was the great rival of Henrik Ibsen in the Scandinavian theater. Their enmity began with Strindberg’s negative reaction to A Doll’s House, which he, disapprovingly, considered feminist. A noted misogynist, Strindberg wrote two highly accomplished naturalist plays, The Father (1887) and Miss Julie (1888), about… Continue Reading August Strindberg

Walter Pater

by Elyse Graham 1. Born in a slum in the East End of London in 1839, Walter Pater was the son of a professional family barely hanging on to the middle class.^1 When Pater was two, his father, a general practitioner, died suddenly of a brain hemmorhage. His uncle, who shared the family’s medical practice… Continue Reading Walter Pater

Henrik Ibsen

by Pericles Lewis The Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) created modern realistic drama out of elements of the popular nineteenth-century forms of the melodrama and the “well-made play.” Although his first European successes occurred with his romantic verse dramas of the 1860s, Ibsen’s great influence on the English stage began with A Doll’s House. The… Continue Reading Henrik Ibsen

Gordon Craig

Biography by Pericles Lewis The English actor and set designer Gordon Craig (1872-1966), along with the Swiss theorist Adolphe Appia, created methods for implementing Richard Wagner’s vision of the “total work of art” in the theater. Craig introduced some of the stylization typical of Appia into the English-speaking world in the first decade of the… Continue Reading Gordon Craig

Anton Chekhov

Biography by Pericles Lewis In the plays of Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), tragedy and comedy are inextricably intertwined. Although his major plays are suffused with an air of anxiety and pessimism akin to those of Henrik Ibsen, he insisted on calling The Seagull (1895) and The Cherry Orchard (1903) comedies. He gave Uncle Vanya (1896) the… Continue Reading Anton Chekhov

Bertolt Brecht

Biography by Pericles Lewis The most influential playwright of the twentieth century, Bertolt Brecht was a conduit for the impact of German expressionism on later modern drama. Brecht’s first play, Baal, written in 1918 but not produced until 1923, tells the story of a boorish and primitive poet who, from being a society sensation, degenerates… Continue Reading Bertolt Brecht