Susan Glaspell: Her Life and Times

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Trifles-a play exploring what happens when women unite against forces that deny them a voice and identity-has become an international classic, as powerful and relevant today as it was in the summer of 1916, when it was first staged by vacationing friends in a converted fishing wharf in Provincetown, Massachusetts. This biography is the story of its author, Susan Glaspell, and the forces that propelled her from her Midwest birthplace in Davenport, Iowa to Greenwich Village during its glory days, where she established herself as a central figure in the avant-garde community and became the first modern American woman playwright. Glaspell’s life is a feminist tale of pioneering in which she broke new ground for women. A journalist by age eighteen, she worked her way through university as a news reporter and became a leading novelist of the period. A co-founder of many of Greenwich Village’s important avant-garde institutions, she was a close friend of its leading figures, including Eugene O’Neill. She and O’Neill were equally credited with launching a new type of indigenous drama, hers addressing such pressing topics as suffrage, birth control, female sexuality, marriage equality, socialism, and pacifism. In 1931 she won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. "Out there-lies all that’s not been touched-lies life that waits,” Claire Archer says in The Verge, Glaspell’s most experimental play. This biography is the exciting and inspiring story of Glaspell’s personal exploration of the same terrain.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages476
ISBN (Electronic)9780197726334
ISBN (Print)9780195313239
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


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