The Theater of Trauma

American Modernist Drama and the Psychological Struggle for the American Mind, 1900-1930

by Michael Cotsell (Author)
©2005 Monographs XVI, 378 Pages


The Theater of Trauma is a groundbreaking rereading of the relations between psychology and drama in the age of Eugene O’Neill, Susan Glaspell, and their many brilliant contemporaries. American modernist Theater of Trauma drew its vision from the psychological investigation of trauma and its consequences – among them hysteria and dissociation – made by French and American psychiatrists such as the great Pierre Janet, Alfred Binet, William James, Morton Prince, and W.E.B. Du Bois; the European and American «dissociationist culture» that developed around their work; and the resulting trauma of World War I. American dramatists’ deep resistance to Freud’s suppression of trauma challenges the equation of Freud and modernism that has become commonplace in modernist criticism.


XVI, 378
ISBN (Hardcover)
USA Drama Geschichte 1900-1930 Psychology Literary Theory English American literature English American language Psychologie (Motiv)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2005. XVI, 378 pp., num. ill.

Biographical notes

Michael Cotsell (Author)

The Author: Michael Cotsell received his Ph.D. in literature (Victorian studies) from Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, England. He taught in Zimbabwe and Northern Ireland before joining the University of Delaware’s English Department in 1989. His research is primarily concerned with the relations of trauma and culture, particularly with reference to American and postcolonial literatures. Dr. Cotsell was Associate Editor of The Dickens Companions series and General Editor of the English Literature and the Wider World series. He is the author of The Companion to «Our Mutual Friend» and Barbara Pym and editor of Our Mutual Friend in The World’s Classics series. He has published and delivered papers on a wide variety of topics from Charles Dickens, John Henry Newman, and Victorian masculinity to David Mamet, Sam Shepard, and semiotics and trauma.


Title: The Theater of Trauma