Susan Glaspell

Susan Glaspell : Her Life and Times

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Description

"Venturesome feminist," historian Nancy Cott's term, perfectly describes playwright and novelist Susan Glaspell (1876-1948), who explored uncharted regions and opened up new areas for women who followed. Born in Davenport, Iowa, just as America entered its second century, Glaspell took her cue from her pioneering grandparents as she sought to rekindle their spirit of adventure and purpose. A journalist by age eighteen, she worked her way through university as a news reporter and later became one of the leading novelists of the period. In 1913 she and her husband, fellow Davenport iconoclast George Cram "Jig" Cook, joined the migration of writers from the Midwest to Greenwich Village, where they established the first American avant-garde. Glaspell became co-founder of many of its important institutions--the Provincetown Players, the Liberal Club, Heterodoxy--and a close friend of John Reed, Mary Heaton Vorse, Max Eastman, Sinclair Lewis, and Eugene O'Neill. She and O'Neill wrote the plays that launched modern American drama, hers addressing such pressing topics as suffrage, birth control, female sexuality, marriage equality, socialism, and pacifism. Although frail and ethereal, Glaspell was a determined rebel throughout her life, scandalizing staid Davenport when at age thirty-five she began an affair with then-married Jig. She lived a year in Paris, spent two in Delphi with Jig, and after his death began an eight-year affair with a man seventeen years her junior. Youthful in appearance, she remained youthful in her approach to life. "Out there--lies all that's not been touched--lies life that waits," Claire Archer says in The Verge, Glaspell's most experimental play. The biography of Susan Glaspell is the exciting story of her personal exploration of the same terrain.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 492 pages
  • 162.6 x 238.8 x 35.6mm | 816.48g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • numerous halftones
  • 0195115066
  • 9780195115062

Review quote

"Linda Ben-Zvi's exhaustively researched and impressively detailed biography rescues Glaspell from her usual role as stage manager. This is a richly textured look at a writer who deserves--and will now surely receive--more attention."--Lisa MacFarlane, American Literature"An important scholarly biography."--Library Journal"Susan Glaspell: Her Life and Times provides a thoroughly researched, richly detailed, and eminently readable analysis of Glaspell's professional rise from 'society girl' reporting in her native Iowa to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of international fame.... This critical biography, which complements and expands without duplicating existing scholarship, is the product of nearly twenty years of meticulous investigation.... In addition to scrupulous literary detection and astute critical insight, readers will appreciate Ben-Zvi's lucid, engaging, jargon-free prose. Susan Glaspell: HerLife and Times is highly recommended for anyone interested in Glaspell, women's biography, American theatre and drama, or the fascinating era in which Glaspell lived and worked."--Theatre Journal"Ben-Zvi animates her scholarly sources to create a fully rounded narrative, carefully reconstructing the life and times of a complex woman who often guarded her privacy.... If ever a thick, scholarly book could be recommended as a Provincetown summer read, a book you can even take to the beach, this one is it."--Provincetown Banner"Susan Glaspell: Her Life and Times both complements the burgeoning field of Glaspell studies and provides nuanced and fresh readings of Glaspell's oeuvre.... Ben-Zvi provides new and distinct perspectives on the individuals and events connected with the legendary company (Provincetown Players).... Ben-Zvi's deep engagement with Glaspell's texts, career, friendships, loves, and beliefs complements her portrait of a woman experiencing some of the most eventful periods of recent U.S. history."--HotReview.org"Once ranked with Shaw and O'Neill, winner of the 1931 Pulitzer Prize, the prolific and pioneering American playwright and novelist Susan Glaspell has disappeared from standard literary history. Linda Ben-Zvi's fascinating critical biography of Glaspell restores an important American writer to twentieth-century cultural history. Move over, Millay!"--Elaine Showalter, Princeton University"If Susan Glaspell has said it for women, Linda Ben-Zvi has said it for Glaspell. What she has said, through a virtual travelogue of fastidious research, impelled by the persistence of unaccountable neglect, is a kind of poetic justice."--Herbert Blau, University of Washington"A much welcome and most necessary biography. We don't know nearly enough about the pioneering writer Susan Glaspell; her story seems to have been passed over. Linda Ben Zvi's engaging and informative work restores this fine writer to her rightful place at the center of the American stage and makes us Glaspell's eager and avid audience."--Suzan-Lori Parks, Winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Dramashow more

About Linda Ben-Zvi

Linda Ben-Zvi is Professor of Theatre Studies at Tel Aviv University and Professor Emerita of English and Theatre at Colorado State University.show more

Rating details

6 ratings
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4 33% (2)
3 50% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 17% (1)
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