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Home » » What is the concept of Expressionism?

The term “expressionism” was coined in the early twentieth century to describe a movement in art, literature, the theatre and the cinema, characterised by boldness, distortion and forceful representation of the emotions. It originated in Germany as a reaction against naturalism. It attempted to express the basic reality of its subjects rather than to re-produce the mere appearance or surface of life. In painting, for example, objects are not represented realistically but are distorted or exaggerated, and colours are intensified to express emotion. 

In drama expressionism involves dreamlike distortions, clipped, staccato dialogue, abrupt, fantastic and many-levelled action; and non-realistic stage settings. For instance, the setting for a scene involving a mentally disturbed character might be a room with multicoloured walls that veer off at crazy angles and furniture three times larger than life-size. Such a setting would express symbolically the character's confusion and disequilibrium. C.K. Munro, HE. Rubinstein, J. B. Priestly and Elmer Rice are the English dramatists who popularised expressionism in drama. 


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