20th Annual American Literature Association Conference 2009

May 21-24, Boston MA.  The Susan Glaspell Society was pleased to join the Eugene O’Neill Society, the Thornton Wilder Society, the Arthur Miller Society, and the American Theater and Drama Society in sharing the general thematic topic “Adaptations” at ALA 2009.

Panel: “Challenging Generic Boundaries: Susan Glaspell’s Adaptations.”
Chair: Martha C. Carpentier, Seton Hall University.

In addition to welcoming papers discussing film adaptations of Susan Glaspell’s work (can anybody find Paramount Pictures1931 The Right to Love with screenplay by Zoe Akins?), this panel invited discussions of Glaspell’s own adaptations. While producing eleven innovative plays for the Provincetown Players from 1916 to 1922, Glaspell continued to publish short stories in magazines such as Harpers Monthly as well as producing a third critically acclaimed novel, and her increasingly sophisticated fiction showed the impact of her playwriting success. Throughout Glaspell’s four-decade writing career she was a consistent adapter of her own work: themes, narratives, and characters that engrossed her appear and reappear, transformed, in both the genres she excelled in. This panel asked contributors to analyze how Glaspell tests generic boundaries as she adapts similar content to the different demands and different possibilities offered by drama and fiction. Works suggested for consideration were: Trifles and its short-story version “A Jury of Her Peers”; her 1917 play Close the Book and 1916 story “Unveiling Brenda“; her lyrical 1917 one-act The Outside with “A Rose in the Sand” written ten years later; either of her 1921 full-length plays Inheritors or The Verge with the 1919 story “Pollen“; her final play for the Provincetown, Chains of Dew, and 1931 novel Ambrose Holt and Family, etc.

Papers:  “Ethnic and Racial Discourse in Susan Glaspell’s Generic Transformation of ‘Unveiling Brenda’ to Close the Book,” Sharon Friedman, Gallatin School, New York University;

“Susan Glaspell’s Dionysian Poetics in Trifles and ‘A Jury of Her Peers,'” Yoko Onizuka Chase, Osaka University of Human Sciences;

“Susan Glaspell’s Generic Hybridity,” Drew Eisenhauer, University of Maryland.

The Society also presented a concert reading of Inheritors directed by Cheryl Black: Inheritors Program

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