Susan Glaspell

Biografie şi Bibliografie

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Susan Keating Glaspell (1 July 1876 – 27 July 1948) was an American Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, actress, director, and bestselling novelist. She was a founding member of the Provincetown Players, one of the most important collaboratives in the development of modern drama in the United States. She also served in the Works Progress Administration as Midwest Bureau Director of the Federal Theater Project.

Her novels and plays are committed to developing deep, sympathetic characters, to understanding 'life' in its complexity. Though realism was the medium of her fiction, she was also greatly interested in philosophy and religion. Many of her characters make principled stands.

As part of the Provincetown Players, she arranged for the first ever reading of a play by Eugene O'Neill.

Early Life: Journalism and Fiction

Glaspell was born in 1876 to Elmer S. Glaspell and Alice Keating in Davenport, Iowa. (The fabricated birth year of 1882 is sometimes seen.) She attended public schools in Davenport, and went on to graduate from Drake University in Des Moines with a Bachelor's degree in 1899. She worked as a reporter for a Des Moines paper, where she was appointed to report on the murder trial of John Hossack in 1900. Hossack had been murdered in his sleep with an axe, and his wife with whom he was supposedly unhappy, ended up as the most logical suspect. Though she claimed to have slept through the event, she was eventually convicted. A later trial found her innocent, but the story lived on. This crime would be the basis for two of Glaspell's best remembered works, A Jury of Her Peers (1917), a short-story, and the one-act-play Trifles (1916). In 2008, The Library of America selected the original newspaper article upon which A Jury of Her Peers is based, "The Hossack Murder," for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime.

Glaspell studied for one semester of graduate school at the University of Chicago in 1902.

Glaspell began to publish her fiction in periodicals. "For the Love of the Hills" won a prize of US$500 from Black Cat Magazine, an augur of her future success. She became involved with the Davenport Monist Society, and there she met George Cram Cook, a sometime classics professor, novelist, poet and an itinerant farmer.

Glaspell spent time in Chicago and is associated with the Chicago Renaissance. Her first novel, The Glory of the Conquered, set in Chicago, was published in 1909. She published the Visioning (1911) and Fidelity (1915).
[edit] Active Playwright

By the time she wrote and published Fidelity, Glaspell had already moved east with Cook, where she married him. The couple moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts, spending summers in Greenwich Village in New York City. It was Cook who first suggested to Glaspell that she write plays and co-authored her first play Suppressed Desires.

Together with friends, they founded the influential Provincetown Players theater group in 1915 on an abandoned wharf by their house on Commercial Street. The group produced plays by both Cook and Glaspell, as well as helping to launch the career of Eugene O'Neill. Other notables associated with the group include Edna St. Vincent Millay, Theodore Dreiser and Glaspell's longtime friend Floyd Dell. Glaspell's plays for the Provincetown Players won critical acclaim. Plays she wrote for the group include Trifles, Inheritors and The Verge. The group was run on a collaborative model. Glaspell also acted in some of the plays.

She and her husband depended on royalties from her short-stories and novels for most of their income. Glaspell knew many of the era's reformers and socialists, including Emma Goldman, John Reed, Louise Bryant, and Upton Sinclair. In 1922 Glaspell and Cook left their successful theater behind so Cook could write and study in Delphi, Greece. Cook died there in 1924.

Glaspell returned to Cape Cod. She wrote a biography of her late husband called The Road to the Temple. During the late twenties, she was romantically involved with the younger writer Norman Matson. In this period, she wrote three novels, including the bestselling Brook Evans. She also wrote the play, Alison's House, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

The early 1930s were years of low productivity for Glaspell, as she struggled with alcoholism and poor health. Her relationship with Matson had ended. Later in the decade, Glaspell lived again briefly in Chicago, where she served as Midwest Bureau Director for the Federal Theater Project. During her time in the Midwest, she reconnected with siblings and gained control of her drinking and creativity.

When her work for the Federal Theater Project was finished, Glaspell returned to Cape Cod.

Bibliography

Drama

    * Suppressed Desires (1915) co-written with George Cram Cook.
    * Trifles (1916) adapted into the short story A Jury of Her Peers (1917)
    * Close the Book (1917)
    * The Outside (1917)
    * The People (1917)
    * Woman's Honor (1918)
    * Tickless Time (1918) co-written with George Cram Cook
    * Bernice (1919)
    * Inheritors (1921)
    * The Verge (1921)
    * Chains of Dew (1922)
    * The Comic Artist (1927) co-written with Norman Matson
    * Alison's House (1930) Pulitzer Prize for Drama


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