Author Archives: Martha Carpentier

Society for the Study of American Women Writers Conference 2006

November 8 – 11, Philadelphia PA.

Panel: “Susan Glaspell and Modernism.”
Chair: Martha C. Carpentier, Seton Hall University.

While Susan Glaspell’s overt feminism and innovative expressionism in plays such as Trifles and The Verge have been widely discussed, the ways in which she continued to explore a modernist aesthetic and express a modernist credo in other works both drama and fiction is less obvious. Glaspell’s well-known comment on Virginia Woolf, “She makes the inner things real . . . . If one could have what she has, or something of it, and have also story, that simple downright human interest,” suggests, not that Glaspell rejected modernism, but that she sought a more nuanced, distinctly American modernist aesthetic. This panel explored Glaspell’s investment in modernism, from its incipient expression in her early fiction, to its full flowering in her Provincetown plays, to its mature melding with fictional realism in her novels of the 30s and 40s.

Papers: “Susan Glaspell’s Lifted Masks: Modernism, Strangeness, and the New Woman,” Drew Eisenhauer, University of Maryland;

“Bonds of Love: Susan Glaspell’s Parodic Revision of the Sentimental Novel,” Sharon Friedman, New York University;

“A Room Not Her Own: The Modern Woman’s Struggle for Space in the Theatre of Susan Glaspell,” Noelia Hernando-Real, Universidad Autnoma de Madrid.

Roundtable: “Trifles and Beyond: Teaching Susan Glaspell”
Chair: Barbara Ozieblo, Universidad de Málaga.

The roundtable discussion examined the teaching of Susan Glaspell’s plays and novels with the intention of spurring faculty to look beyond Trifles and “A Jury of Her Peers,” the two pieces that most commonly appear in anthologies, the classroom, and amateur production. Discussants looked at how Susan Glaspell’s plays, stories, and novels fit into courses on feminism, on modernism and on women writers; how her works can be advantageously used in first-year composition courses, literature courses and graduate courses; how her works fit into other disciplines and how they can be used to exemplify different tendencies in critical theory.

Participants and Topics:

“Glaspell’s Trifles/ ‘A Jury of Her Peers’ in the Composition or Literature Classroom,” Mary Papke, University of Tennessee;

“Teaching Susan Glaspell in Law School,” Patricia L. Bryan, University of North Carolina School of Law;

“Teaching Brook Evans to Graduate and Undergraduates in Courses on Women Writers,” Martha C. Carpentier, Seton Hall University;  

“Teaching and Performing Brook Evans,” Mike Solomonson, Northland Pioneer College;

“Teaching The Outside and The Verge,” Barbara Ozieblo, Universidad de Malaga.

Nora in America: A Staged Reading of Glaspell’s Chains of Dew

Adapted and Directed by Cheryl Black, University of Missouri-Columbia

Readers included (l to r) Judith Barlow as Edith, Martha Carpentier as Mother Standish, Mike Solomonson as Seymore Standish, Basia Ozieblo as Dotty Standish, Drew Eisenhauer as Leon Whittaker, director Cheryl Black, Doug Powers as James O'Brien, and J. Ellen Gainor (not pictured) as Nora Powers.


Stars of the show: nice Amelia, naughty Angelica and little Seymore . . . Mother Standish's dolls, handmade by Martha Carpentier.

2006 Business Meeting Minutes

The meeting was conducted on November 10 2006, at the SSAWW conference in Philadelphia, PA.

In attendance: Judith Barlow, Cheryl Black, Martha Carpentier, Drew Eisenhauer, Sharon Friedman, J. Ellen Gainor, Barbara Ozieblo, Mary Papke, Noelia Hernando-Real, Mike Solomonson.

1. President’s Report
President Barbara Ozieblo (Basia) welcomed members. She thanked Martha Carpentier for the time and effort she has put into developing the Society and the website, which was endorsed by all members present; she urged Martha to reimburse herself from the Society account for any personal monies spent (notably $100 on the Provincetown wine-and-cheese and miscellaneous amounts on paper and ink for flyers, etc.)

Basia gave a brief history of the formation of the Society at the ALA conference in Boston in 2003 by the founding members, including herself, Martha, Mary Papke, Marcia Noe, and Lucia Sander. “For three years of working as a society,” Basia stated, “we’ve done a lot.” She listed the major book publications to come out, including Linda Ben-Zvi’s 2005 biography and re-issue of Road to the Temple; Kristina Hinz-Bode’s study, SG and the Anxiety of Expression; Patricia Bryan and Tom Wolf’s Midnight Assassin; and most recently, Martha’s edited volume of critical essays from Cambridge Scholars Press and Martha and Basia’s long-awaited anthology of critical essays from Rodopi, Disclosing Intertextualities. Articles have been published by Cheryl Black and Sharon Friedman, among others. Judith Barlow’s critical anthology, Women Writers of the Provincetown Players, is forthcoming. J. Ellen Gainor’s 2001 study, SG in Context, is now out in paper. Entries on Glaspell and her works have been submitted by Basia and Martha to the Literary Encyclopedia online with more forthcoming from other members.

Basia reported that Society members have also been extremely productive with conference panels since 2003, presenting at ALA, Twentieth-Century Literature, ATDS and ATDS-sponsored panels at ATHE, The O’Neill Society Conference, and now SSAWW. Basia also praised performances of Glaspell’s work, including the 2005 Metropolitan Playhouse’s production of Inheritors, Mike Solomonson’s production of Intimations from the Brook, Monica Stufft’s production at Berkeley of Inheritors, and most recently Trifles performed by students at SuZhou University in China. Cheryl Black was thanked for her work directing conference readings of Glaspell’s plays.

Basia concluded that, having concentrated on publishing essays in anthologies, we need now to make ourselves more visible by increasing journal publications, and she added that work on the fiction particularly needs to continue. We also need to keep up our annual presence at conferences such as ALA and ATHE, and to continue to present dramatic readings of Glaspell plays, which has proven to be a successful way of broadening appreciation of her work.

2. Vice President’s Report
Vice President Martha Carpentier reported that the SG Society now has 45 members and that since the O’Neill Conference (which left our finances at zero), we had accrued $306 in membership dues. This was added to substantially by the box office proceeds of $1,365 from Mike’s production of “Intimations from the Brook,” which, it was decided by Valentina Cook and himself, should be donated to the Society. The present balance of SG Society funds is $1,671.00.

Martha handed out a form for all present members to renew membership and submit dues (which is now done annually in December, as per the By-laws). She will send the form out to other members not present at the meeting.

Martha asked whether it was appropriate or helpful for her to mail out a list of members to the members with addresses and e-mail addresses. Those present said that approval of all members would be required, and anyone who did not want to be included would have to be exempt. It was decided that the present method, sending notices by e-mail to Basia or Martha for forwarding on to the complete list of members, was working fine and should continue.

3. Discussion and vote on the SGS By-laws
Correction to Article I, Section 2 of “re-establishment” to “recognition” was proposed by Mary Papke.
Reasons for our formation as an affiliate society of SSAWW were discussed. The distinction between being an “affiliate” of SSAW and “under the umbrella” was established; we are an affiliate. This does not behoove us to have our Society meetings at SSAWW in future, nor does it require members of the Society to become members of SSAWW (unless presenting at a panel at SSAWW). It was suggested that if we get up to 75 members in the future maybe we could think then about forming an entirely autonomous society.

Martha Carpentier and Mary Papke confirmed their desire to continue in their present offices of Webmaster (not Webmistress!) and Bibliographer respectively, and they were unanimously approved as such by the members present.

Discussion of whether or not we should institute a Society Newsletter ensued: Judith Barlow asked whether it should be a newsy or scholarly newsletter and she commented that, since we want to get more Glaspell articles published in refereed journals, a newsletter of the scholarly model would be redundant. The website already functions effectively as a resource for Society news, so a “newsy” newsletter would also be redundant. Considering the amount of work involved, members agreed that it was not worthwhile at the present time to institute a newsletter, and that all references to the newsletter and Newsletter Director should be deleted from the By-laws.

Ellen Gainor requested that formal acknowledgment of Officers’ service to the Society come annually from the President in the form of a brief letter for the purposes of tenure and promotion. Basia agreed, and added that a letter from the Vice President attesting to the President’s service should be forthcoming as well. A record of Officers and previous Officers with terms of service should be kept on the website.

Article II, section 2 was revised. Judith Barlow and Cheryl Black agreed with Mary Papke that two elections officers would complicate matters unduly and are not both necessary; we can trust one person to do the job.

It was further decided that a new “Article III Elections” should be added, which would include the present Article I e, Section 2, and the following: “The Elections officer will send an e-mail to members soliciting nominations, then ask nominees if they are willing to serve, send nominations on to EC and, after receiving approval of nominees from EC, send out a ballot to members.”

It was agreed that minutes of Society meetings should not be published on the website, but just sent via e-mail to members. At some future date it may be possible to add a password-protected page to the website for members only where minutes could be safely recorded.

After discussion it was agreed (as per the present draft) that elections for officers should be conducted every three years and should not be staggered, but it was decided that the Vice President should ascend to the Presidency after one term serving as VP, and that therefore only a VP would be elected on the three year cycle. Neither the VP nor the President can, therefore, be re-elected for a second term.

Cheryl Black proposed reducing the “three Standing Members” of the Executive Council as stated in the draft to one. Mary Papke suggested emending it to read: “Two standing members, at least one of whom must be a graduate student representative.”

Members expressed disappointment with the present SSAWW conference as a venue for future Society meetings; attendance at this conference was smaller than expected and sufficient interest in Susan Glaspell has not been forthcoming. It was decided that we should meet annually, not biannually, and that, although ALA and ATHE are both possibilities, we should not limit ourselves now as to possible future venues. Rather the By-laws should read: “It shall be the duty of the Executive Council to determine an annual meeting at the ALA or another national or international conference.”

A quorum of the Executive Council should be stated as three members, and under “Article VI: Amendments and Policy Decisions,” add “a simple majority of those voting” is necessary to pass policy decisions; whereas any amendments to the By-laws must be endorsed by the Executive Council and can only be passed by a two-thirds majority of members.

It should be added to the By-laws that any persons presenting on SG Society-sponsored panels must become SG Society members.

A motion to approve these changes to the Society By-laws was proposed by Mary Papke, seconded by Cheryl Black, and ratified by a unanimous vote.

4. Nomination and vote on the Election Officer for elections to be held in December 2006.
Judith Barlow volunteered to serve as Election Officer and was unanimously applauded. After conferring with Basia, she will send out a request for nominations for the Membership and Finances Officer and the two standing members of the Executive Council, one of whom must be a graduate student (at the time of the election).

At the behest of members, Basia and Martha agreed to serve another three-year term in their present positions, Basia as President and Martha as Vice President. This means therefore that Martha will become President in January 2010. Their continued service in their present offices was unanimously endorsed by those present at the meeting, but Basia and Martha feel they should be voted on by the full membership in the election as well.

5. Approval of Elections Calendar
It was decided to leave all matters pertaining to the Elections Calendar to Judith.

6. Suggestions for future membership campaigns, future conferences, and the budget for 2007-2010.
Mary, Martha, and Basia urged that there be an SGS-sponsored panel at ALA every year. Although the deadline for ATHE 2007 has passed, the deadline for 2007 ALA is January 30. After discussion it was decided that the SGS-sponsored panel proposal for ALA 2007 should be: “Modernist Visions of the Grotesque: Glaspell, Barnes, and their Contemporaries.” Mary agreed to chair the panel if Martha would help with paperwork. Mary will send the CFP as soon as possible to Martha. Ellen and Basia will post the CPF on various listservs, and we will hope to have sufficient paper proposals in time for submission to ALA.

Possible Glaspell topics for ATDS-sponsored panels at ATHE or SGS sponsored panels at ATHE need to be developed, as well as a topic for ALA 2008. Some under consideration: American Identity, Sex and the City, Art and the Artist.

Mary suggested not doing the Louisville Twentieth-Century Lit conference in the future as it is perceived generally as a graduate student conference that accepts anything. It is more important for us to be consistent at the major conferences pertinent to Glaspell studies. Basia suggested that we may also consider a Glaspell panel at the next SSAWW conference, whenever that is to be.

Since it is difficult for Cheryl to attend ALA, Mike Solomonson offered his services to direct a reading of Inheritors at ALA 2008.

Regarding budget, Martha proposed establishing an annual prize for the best graduate student paper on Susan Glaspell. Although members liked the idea, it was felt that the process of calling for, receiving, and evaluating graduate student papers was beyond our capabilities at present, and the idea was tabled for future consideration. It was decided that we should conserve our financial resources for now.

7. Honorary Members
Valentina and Ariadne Cook were unanimously approved as Honorary Members. Martha admitted that she had already allowed Robert Sarlós to become an Honorary (i.e., unpaying) Member, at his request when she met him at the O’Neill conference, since at the time no Executive Council or other mechanism existed for approval of such members. Mary Papke proposed, and members all agreed, that in future no academics should be approved as Honorary Members. A modest fee of $10 exists for retired faculty.

8. Other suggestions, questions …
Martha will design a Society logo to go with the illustration of SG “and her jaunty bob” uncovered by Cheryl, and will send it out for members’ approval (members are also invited to send their logo ideas in to Martha); Martha received approval to use funds for an SG Society letterhead if necessary.

Trifles in China 2006

Students at SuZhou University in China performed Trifles in October, 2006, directed by Alexander Moffet from Grinnell University, as part of the 12th National Symposium on American Drama and Theater. SGS member Ling Jian-e presented a paper, “Compulsory Private Space and Redemptive Sisterhood: Dramatic Space in Trifles and ‘night Mother” and Linda Ben-Zvi was the Keynote Speaker at the Symposium.

Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference 2006

August 4, Chicago.  ATDS-Sponsored Staged Reading of Susan Glaspell’s Chains of Dew Directed by Cheryl Black, University of Missouri-Columbia

"My dear Dot, you know perfectly well I want you to have the Madonna hanging here. Since you like Madonnas, by all means let her bless our home!"

Cheryl adapted Chains of Dew and added a prologue explicating the historical context and critical reaction to the original production. The performer / discussants were:

Amy Pinney as Nora
Phil Groeschel as Leon
Brett Johnson as O’Brien
Barbara Ozieblo as Dotty Standish
Michael Solomonson as Seymore Standish
Cheryl Black as Mother Standish
Shari Troy as Mrs. MacIntyre
Monica Stufft as Edith

17th Annual American Literature Association Conference 2006

May 25-28, San Francisco CA.
Panel: “Trauma, Grief, and Recovery in the Works of Susan Glaspell.”
Chair: Mary E. Papke, University of Tennessee.

Modernist artists of the 1910s and 1920s famously captured in their work the cultural trauma and mourning of those who lived through World War I. Susan Glaspell throughout her very long career focused on the legacy of that and other wars as well as on a number of other national political traumas and catastrophic individual losses. The range of trauma Glaspell explores is great, from the death of children (for instance, in The Verge), the loss of family (Fugitive’s Return), the loss of self in madness or self-erasure (The Road to the Temple) to the loss of intellectual and political ideals (Inheritors) and the national trauma suffered in wartime (Judd Rankin’s Daughter). This panel explored specific cases of personal and collective trauma, loss, and, in some cases, recovery in the drama and fiction of Susan Glaspell.

Papers:  “Glaspell, Freeman and Twain: Varied Voices in Magazine Fiction, 1913-1918,” Colette Lindroth, Caldwell College;

“Embodied Loss: Absence and Presence in Susan Glaspell’s Inheritors,” Monica Stufft, University of California at Berkeley;

“The Deracinated Self: Immigrants and Orphans in Susan Glaspell’s Fiction,” Martha C. Carpentier, Seton Hall University.

Susan Glaspell and the Anxiety of Expression: Language and Isolation in the Plays (MacFarland 2006)

Through an exploration of eight plays written between the years of 1916 and 1943 – Trifles, Springs Eternal, The People, Alison’s House, Bernice, The Outside, Chains of Dew and The Verge – Kristina Hinz-Bode elucidates one of Glaspell’s most important themes: individuality versus social conformity.

MacFarland & Company, ISBN 0-7864-2505-9

To order:

Susan Glaspell: New Directions in Critical Inquiry (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2006)

Edited and with introduction by Martha C. Carpentier that addresses the complex issues of canon exclusion, Susan Glaspell: New Directions in Critical Inquiry, features all new essays by Barbara Ozieblo, Lucia V. Sander, Marie Molnar, Patricia L. Bryan, J. Ellen Gainor, Mary E. Papke, and Kristina Hinz-Bode.

Available in paperback from Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 978-1847188441

To order:–New-Directions-in-Critical-Inquiry1-84718-844-3.htm

Disclosing Intertextualities: The Stories, Plays, and Novels of Susan Glaspell (Rodopi 2006)

Edited and with introduction by Martha C. Carpentier and Barbara Ozieblo, Disclosing Intertextualities: The Stories, Plays, and Novels of Susan Glaspell, is a comprehensive anthology featuring 15 critical essays on Glaspell’s work in all three genres by an international group of new and established Glaspell scholars. Available in paperback.

DQR Studies in Literature Vol. 37 from Rodopi.

ISBN 978-90-420-2083-2

Intimations from the Brook 2006

April 22-30, 2006 Silver Creek Campus Performing Arts Center
Snowflake, AZ

Directed by Mike Solomonson
Members of Mike Solomonson’s Northland Pioneer College class, “From Page to Stage,” Elissia Johnston and Debe Sauro-Betts, adapted Susan Glaspell’s 1928 novel Brook Evans for the stage as “Intimations from the Brook”. On Saturday, April 22, Martha Carpentier gave an introductory lecture prior to the opening night performance; the following week on April 29 Linda Ben-Zvi gave a guest lecture, both visits courtesy of Northland Pioneer College.

Stage Manager, Monyca Stewart
Makeup Design, Lindsay Burgess
Set, Light & Costume Design, Debra Fisher
Light Board Operator, Kevin Hanson
Original Score, Benjamin Schoening

Amy Ramsay as young Naomi
Donovan Stole as Joe
Brian McLane as Caleb Evans
Charlotte Skousen as mature Naomi
Brittan Pyper as young Brook Evans
Lisa Jayne as mature Brook
Marissa Decker as Mrs. Copeland,
Barry Richins as Colonel Fowler,
Gabe Sierra as Erik Helge,
Lorie Williams as Mrs. Kellogg,
Breana Holladay as Mrs. Allen,
Malori Jo Rhinehart as Sister Waite,
Deanna Bailey as Aunt Rosie,
James C. Thompson as Uncle Willie,
Luke Walton as Evans, and
Jeff Jones as grandfather Caleb

A Program Note from Mike:

“The majority of scholars who are researching, writing, and rightfully resurrecting the literary reputation of Susan Glaspell are women. So one might ask how did I make a personal connection with Glaspell. In part, and at the risk of sounding simplistic, I think it is because we are native Iowans. When I read her plays, such as Inheritors, I recognize a person who shared my Iowa experiences and the challenges and quirks that result from living and growing up in a small, rural environment. Part of the conflict that I related to in reading her works was the contest between living the conventional life (what young Brook might call doing the “right thing”), and the realization of a more complex world beyond the idyllic country. It is this world that offered opportunities for greater self-fulfillment, but that demanded unconventional choices. What often results in Glaspell’s work is a war between the desire to make the unconventional choice and the demand that the “right thing” be chosen and honored. The tension between these two standards is both a personal, internal struggle that Glaspell’s characters fight, and a battle imposed on her characters by society and its various human representatives. It is one of the thematic elements found in much of her work and that informs her novel Brook Evans, and inspired my desire to collaborate with Elissia and Debe on our adaptation.”

Introductory Lecture on “Brook Evans” answers the questions, “Why haven’t I ever heard of Glaspell’s novel Brook Evans?” and “Why does it speak to us today?”

Inheritors at the Metropolitan Playhouse 2005

The Metropolitan Playhouse, a New York resident theater dedicated to exploring and re-vitalizing American literature and culture, staged a landmark production of Susan Glaspell’s Inheritors on November 11 – December 11 2005, as part of their 14th season devoted to the “Outsider.” SGS members provided post-show presentations on November 13, 2005 (Martha Carpentier, Sherry Engle, Sharon Friedman, and Monica Stufft) and on November 20 (J. Ellen Gainor).

For more information about The Metropolitan Playhouse, 220A East Fourth St., New York, NY 10009:

Artistic Director, Alex Roe
Assoc. Artistic Director, Michael Bloom
Director, Yvonne Opffer Conybeare
Stage Manager, Pamela Hybridge
Scenic Design, Ryan Scott
Costume Design, Rebecca Lustig
Assistant Costume Design, Emily Pepper
Lighting Design, Alexander C. Senchak
Music/Sound Design, Ben Ruby
Violin, Ben Lively
Fight Director, Scott Barrow
Dramaturg, Michael Bloom