Tracing the evolution of Susan Glaspell's writing, Veronica Makowsky provides fascinating glimpses of the life of a woman who broke the barriers against female journalists, advocated socialism, struggled with the precepts of Greenwich Village free love, was one of the founders of the Provincetown Players, participated in the sessions of the feminist Heterodoxy Club, placed women's concerns on the stage as a playwright and actress, and wrote about a turbulent century of American women with courage, optimism, sensitivity, and love. This is the first full-length book about Glaspell's works, including the fiction and lifewriting that bracketed her relatively brief career as the playwright best-known for the one-act drama Trifles. Also the author of many other plays, including the Pulitzer prize-winning Alison's House, a number of collected and uncollected short stories, nine novels, and a biography of her husband the iconoclastic George Cram Cook, Glaspell was an artist of formidable, but ill-acknowledged talent. Makowsky places Glaspell's work in its biographical and cultural context, with particular attention to Glaspell's depiction of women's roles over a century of American history. In addition, she examines closely Glaspell's use of the maternal metaphor and her depiction of women in the role of mothers. This absorbing and revelatory study rescues one of America's literary "foremothers" from relative obscurity, challenging canonical ideas about the circumstances that lead to literary "greatness."
"In Susan Glaspell's Century of American Women, Veronica Makowsky offers a rich reading of Glaspell's drama, and its depiction of American women. Providing a thematic overview of Glaspell's dramatic writing, Susan Glaspell's Century of American Women should play an important part in the current recovery and reinterpretation of Glaspell's work as a playwright."--W.B. Worthen, Northwestern University
"Veronica Makowsky's Susan Glaspell's Century of American Women
provides a much-needed analysis of this lesser-known but fascinating American writer. Focusing primarily on Glaspell's fiction, Makowsky establishes her work within the contexts of Anglo-American feminism and the female literary tradition. With impressive economy and clarity, Makowsky presents strong thematic and biographical readings of novels which may now receive deserved, renewed critical and popular attention."--J. Ellen Gainor, Cornell University
"A book to be read for its insights into the work and psyche of Glaspell and, by extension, into the minds and hearts of American women."--Christianity and Literature
"An excellent sourcebook...The author writes gracefully and interestingly about the implications of motherhood, both literal and symbolic, for a writer who had suffered a still-birth and several miscarriages."--Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism
"Makowsky reads the full body of Glaspell's writing against salient circumstances of her personal life and larger socioeconomic, political, and cultural context. This approach richly illuminates the content of the work and Glaspell's deep ambivalence about her status as a woman and an artist....This book will make contemporary theatre scholars and practitioners want to examine Glaspell's novels not only for further illumination of the vision nascent in her Provincetown plays but for compelling insight into the struggles of pioneering creative women of her generation."--New England Theatre Journal