“Wall Street lays an egg": financial drama and the 1933 banking collapse in Archibald MacLeish’s Panic: a drama of industrial crisis (1935)

Currell, Susan (2013) “Wall Street lays an egg": financial drama and the 1933 banking collapse in Archibald MacLeish’s Panic: a drama of industrial crisis (1935). Modern Drama, 56 (3). pp. 1-25. ISSN 0026-7694

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Abstract

Asserting that the Wall Street Crash was a drama staged in the public arena of the early 1930s, this essay examines the context and performance history of the poet Archibald MacLeish’s verse-drama about the suicide of a banker, Panic: A Drama of Industrial Crisis (1935). The play is one of very few representations on stage of the banking crash of 1933 and marks a turning point in the politics of both the writer and his audience. Looking through the prism of contemporary reviews, letters and memoirs from the era, this essay pieces together historical fragments about this play and its performances to explain how a liberal pro-capitalist writer, such as MacLeish, came together with the Marxist critics of New Masses magazine, to create a historic final-night performance of his now-forgotten play.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PS American literature > PS0185 By period > PS0221 20th century
Depositing User: Sue Currell
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2013 08:12
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2013 08:12
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/40191
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