Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

Susan Glaspell has been my “world” for the past several years. Although researching and writing may often be a very lonely business requiring that you cut yourself off from many things in order to concentrate exclusively on your subject, my world was peopled by gentle souls...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-18

As the United States had now officially gotten involved in the combat against the Axis Powers, Glaspell resumed the Woolfian trope of the hunt to exhort American artists to get involved in the war effort and to “do [their] part in shaping a better world.” Glaspell stressed the performative...

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Part I: Susan Glaspell’s Drama of Denunciation

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pp. 19-24

Why indeed? Why did Susan Glaspell write books? As J. Ellen Gainor laments, Glaspell “gave few interviews” and “kept only the sketchiest of diaries” and thus left behind almost no testimony of her creative process (“Woman’s Honor” 70). “On the Subject of Writing,” an unpublished...

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1. “A Jury of One’s Peers”: Unjust Justice

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pp. 25-46

during her time at the Des Moines Daily News as reporter, Glaspell, in the words of journalist Edith D. Stiles, learned about “human nature and life in general.” This experience was decisive in the development of Glaspell’s career as a fiction writer. In a bibliographical essay dated from...

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2. “The Angel in the House”: Patriarchy, Traditions, and Female Alienation

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pp. 47-68

Through her writing, Susan Glaspell shows her allegiance to feminism by taking up the prison metaphor, which typified the rhetoric of suffrage campaigners and radical Villagers defending women’s emancipation in both the public and private spheres. When, in 1914, Marie Jenny...

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3. “A Just War”: The Disintegration of American Values

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pp. 69-92

According to the “just war theory”—notably inspired by Saint Augustine—certain reasons can justify a war. For Woodrow Wilson, the United States had the duty to fight against barbarism, and for that good reason their involvement into the conflict was both legitimate...

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Part II: Susan Glaspell’s Drama of Resistance

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pp. 93-96

In The Theatre of Revolt, Robert Brustein reminds his readers that, according to Albert Camus, “rebellion arises from the spectacle of the irrational coupled with an unjust and incomprehensible condition” (Brustein 8; Camus 16). Trapped in a society of the democratic spectacle...

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4. The Idealist Rebels: Fighting in the Name of the Community

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pp. 97-125

In his review of the first production of Inheritors, Ludwig Lewisohn, the influential literary critic of the prestigious American periodical the Nation, applauds Glaspell’s rendering of contemporary American life:
It is the first American play in which a strong intellect and a ripe artistic...

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5. The Individualist Rebels: Standing Up on the Margins of the Community

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pp. 126-141

The bohemian celebration of the individual had made of Greenwich Village the heartland of individualism at the beginning of the twentieth century. Individualism had, however, been a long-standing tradition in America, the first modern liberal state founded on the principles...

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6. “The Madwoman in the Tower”: Rebelling against the Community

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pp. 142-164

In his 1921 review of The Verge, Stephen Rathbun introduces Claire as a “heroine striv[ing] for the absolute freedom of the individual . . . , seek[ing] freedom for herself.” Claire’s frantic individualist search for independence from “conventions, family ties and all the other obligations...

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Part III: Susan Glaspell’s Drama of Hope

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pp. 165-168

In his afterword to The Theatre of Revolt, Brustein concludes:
Revolt is the energy which drives the modern theatre, just as faith drove the theatre of the past. Revolt, however, is not simply an energy but also a body of ideas, a system of values; and these have both their implicit and explicit...

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7. Sharing and Bonding: Sisterhood

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pp. 169-187

In her article “‘The Rules of the Institution’: Susan Glaspell and Sisterhood,” Caroline V. Fletcher notes that in “her life and art,” the playwright “depended on female duos as powerful and important vehicles for [emancipation]” (240). Her closeness to Lucy Huffaker, her Drake college...

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8. “Feeling Something Together as Never Before”: National Solidarity

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pp. 188-202

Susan Glaspell envisages collaboration as a fundamental alternative to conventional oppressive hierarchical structures that are based on coercion rather than mutual support. Glaspell’s dramatic commitment is emblematic of her staunch conviction that collaboration, that is...

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9. The Paradox of Self-Sacrifice: Self-Sacrifice as Self-Empowerment

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pp. 203-228

Susan Glaspell’s heroes are no mythical figures in the original Greek sense of the term “hero,” but ordinary protagonists waging their realistic revolts in a fictitious world that reflects Glaspell’s extradiegetic reality. If the idealist rebel, scarifying himself or herself in the name of...

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Conclusion

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pp. 229-232

Susan Glaspell’s drama is a drama of revolt. It expresses the extent of her discontent with oppressive conventions and governmental policies, stages her protagonists’ insurrections against them, and provides possible alternatives. Glaspell’s drama of denunciation, resistance...

Notes

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pp. 233-236

Works Cited

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pp. 237-252

Index

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pp. 253-264