Susan Keating Glaspell was an American playwright, novelist, journalist and actress. With her husband George Cram Cook, she founded the Provincetown Players, the first modern American theatre company.
First known for her short stories (fifty were published), Glaspell is known also to have written nine novels, fifteen plays, and a biography. Often set in her native Midwest, these semi-autobiographical tales typically explore contemporary social issues, such as gender, ethics, and dissent, while featuring deep, sympathetic characters who make principled stands. Her 1930 play Alison's House earned her the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
After her husband's death in Greece, she returned to the United States with their children. During the Great Depression, Glaspell worked in Chicago for the Works Progress Administration, where she was Midwest Bureau Director of the Federal Theater Project. Although a best-selling author in her own time, after her death Glaspell attracted less interest and her books went out of print. She was also noted for discovering playwright Eugene O'Neill.
Since the late 20th century, critical reassessment of women's contributions has led to renewed interest in her career and a revival of her reputation. In the early 21st century Glaspell is today recognized as a pioneering feminist writer and America's first important modern female playwright. Her one-act play Trifles (1916) is frequently cited as one of the greatest works of American theatre. According to Britain's leading theatre critic, Michael Billington, she remains "American drama's best-kept secret."
Books by Susan Glaspell
The small Midwestern town of Freeport was scandalized years ago when Ruth Holland, then a young girl, ran away to the West with a married man. Now that she's returned home to take care of her dying father, she faces some hard truths about who her tru...
Inheritors is a four-act play written by the American dramatist Susan Glaspell, first performed in 1921. The play concerns the legacy of an idealistic farmer who wills his highly coveted midwest farmland to the establishment of a college (Act I). F...
In this collection of short stories, Susan Glaspell examines the unique character of America and its people.
This play is Glaspell’s recognition of the way in which Victorian society left some women feeling trapped in roles for which they were unsuited. Because of the play’s non-realistic speech patterns and expressionistic elements, it was dismissed by mos...