Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
December 2021
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

How do ideas take shape? How do concepts emerge into form? This book argues that they take shape quite literally in the human body, often appearing on stage in new styles of performance. Focusing on the historical period of modernity, Performance and Modernity: Enacting Change on the Globalizing Stage demonstrates how the unforeseen impact of economic, industrial, political, social, and psychological change was registered in bodily metaphors that took shape on stage. In new styles of performance-acting, dance, music, pageantry, avant-garde provocations, film, video and networked media-this book finds fresh evidence for how modernity has been understood and lived, both by stage actors, who, in modelling new habits, gave emerging experiences an epistemological shape, and by their audiences, who, in borrowing the strategies performers enacted, learned to adapt to a modernizing world.


'This is a confident, intellectually rigorous, stimulating and innovative book. The perspectives it offers on the relationship between cultural innovation and performance practices, the space it opens for an embodied understanding of historical materials, and the claims it stages for the centrality of performance - not only to historical narrative, but to the process of historical change itself - will make it an important and influential addition to the Performance Studies canon. It deserves to find a wide and enthusiastic readership.'

Sophie Nield - Royal Holloway, University of London

'This is a deeply rich and wide-ranging study. It contains subtle readings of little-considered theatrical texts; erudite and illuminating surveys that approach well-trodden historical material from fresh and unexpected angles; and provocative methodological musings on major problems in the study of reception and the history of acting.'

Margaret Werry - University of Minnesota

‘Julia Walker’s Performance and Modernity has all the electricity of a lightning bolt. Brilliantly reimagining performance in light of the technological, representational, and ontological crises of modernity, this book provides a breathtaking history of performance that is both truly global and shockingly new. Meticulously reconstructing accounts of changes in styles of performance as an embodiment (in every sense) of the forces of modernity itself, Walker sees different styles of performance - from the ‘point’ technique to psychological realism - not merely encoding desires for and fears of modernity, but enacting and fomenting them. Reading across many national traditions and genres of performance, this book recasts our sense of the modern in a way few other books have.’

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.