Modernism, Gender, and Fin de Siecle Theatre - MSA, Montreal (november 2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Stephanie Byttebier
contact email: 

Recently, Toril Moi has argued for a rehabilitation of Ibsen as a modernist dramatist and described a number of key features of his version of modernism: his embrace of theatre as an art form, his critique of theatricality, his foregrounding of a meta-theatrical skepticism, and his preoccupation with the key social issue of the position of women in society (Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism). This panel will seek to extend Moi's claims by asking if we can identify an "other," early or "original" modernism—one somewhat different from what Moi, borrowing from Frederic Jameson, calls the post-WWII "Ideology of Modernism"—in the works of various fin de siècle dramatists staging rebellious women. In addition to Ibsen, panelists might consider, for instance, the works of Wilde, Henry James, Shaw, Elizabeth Robins, Pinero, Jones. Specific questions of the panel will include: How can we reread some of the fin de siècle's drama as fresh, radical, modern? How do the modernist aspects of these dramas intersect with the new concern with the representation of female subjectivity? Do gender issues belong in the definition of Modernism? Please send 250-word abstracts as well as a few sentences of bio to Stephanie Byttebier,, by May 5th.