Category Archives: 2005 Conferences

WITASWAN Features Susan Glaspell in 2005

WITASWAN celebrated the 25th anniversary of the release of Sally Heckel’s Oscar-nominated film of “A Jury of Her Peers” in Chicago in March 2005. Sally conducted a post-screening Q&A at the Chicago Cultural Center, followed by a lecture by Patricia Bryan & Tom Wolf (authors of Midnight Assassin: Murder in America’s Heartland).

A few months later, on September 28 2005, Linda Ben-Zvi addressed the Illinois Women’s Press Association at the University Center, Chicago, reading from her new biography Susan Glaspell: Her Life and Times, and also directing students from De Paul University’s Theatre School in selected scenes from Inheritors, Suppressed Desires, and Trifles.

Both events were organized by WITASWAN (Women in the Audience Supporting Women Artists Now), a nationwide initiative dedicated to eliminating the celluloid ceiling that continues to restrict opportunities for women filmmakers, coordinated by Jan Lisa Huttner.

Eugene O’Neill Society 6th International Conference 2005

“Where It All Began,” June 15-20,Provincetown MA.

Susan Glaspell and Eugene O’Neill were brought together again in their beloved Provincetown, as the Susan Glaspell Society participated in the Eugene O’Neill Society’s 6th International Conference, June 15-20, 2005. Linda Ben-Zvi gave the keynote address on Friday June 17, “The Place of Provincetown in Glaspell’s Writing,” and the Glaspell Society hosted a wine-and-cheese reception following the Provincetown Fringe Festival’s second annual Susan Glaspell play-reading marathon on Friday, as well as sponsoring a panel on Saturday and a roundtable on Sunday. Many thanks to O’Neill Society President Zander Brietzke and Vice President Steven Bloom for their warm welcome and the chance for scholars of these two founders of American drama to come together.

Susan Glaspell first came to Provincetown in the summer of 1912. When she married Jig Cook in 1913, they returned and the next year bought a house at 564 Commercial Street that was to be Glaspell’s home for the rest of her life. In Provincetown she found a community of like-minded artists and writers who provided her with the intellectual support and understanding her Davenport, Iowa family and friends were unable to offer. It is, therefore, not surprising that Provincetown, its setting, people, and history played a significant role in her writing. In her presentation Prof. Ben Zvi discussed Glaspell’s life in Provincetown and the ways in which she depicts elements of the locale and specific
residents in her plays and fiction.

Susan Glaspell Society Panel: “New Approaches to Susan Glaspell’s Theatre,” June 18.  Chair: Martha C. Carpentier, Seton Hall University.

Papers: “Susan Glaspell’s ‘The Plea’: Foreshadowing Trifles and Concerns About Law and Justice,” Patricia L. Bryan, University of North Carolina Law School;

“A Trembling Hand, a Rocking Chair, and a Rocking Chair or Kitchen Sink: Glaspell, O’Neill and their Early Dramatic Experiences,” Lucia V. Sander, University of Brasilia;

Woman’s Honor and the Critique of Slander Per Se,” J. Ellen Gainor, Cornell University;  

“Writing for the Provincetown: Glaspell’s ‘New Woman’ in Chains of Dew,” Barbara Ozieblo, University of Malaga.

Susan Glaspell Society Roundtable: “Susan Glaspell in Context,” June 19.  Moderator: Linda Ben-Zvi, Tel Aviv University.

Sunday’s roundtable discussion took place at the Pilgrim Monument museum. Participants Marcia Noe, Cheryl Black, Sally Heckel, J. Ellen Gainor, Sharon Friedman, Basia Ozieblo, and moderator Linda Ben-Zvi held an animated discussion that included audience members and ranged from the future of Glaspell studies to the relationship of Susan Glaspell and husband Jig Cook.

16th Annual American Literature Association Conference 2005

May 26-29, Boston MA.
Panel: “Four Decades of Fiction at the Forefront: Susan Glaspell’s Critique of American Ideology.”
Chair: Martha C. Carpentier, Seton Hall University.

Papers: “Evaluating America: Cultural Commentary in Susan Glaspell’s Magazine Fiction,” Colette Lindroth, Caldwell College;

“Susan Glaspell’s Last Word on Democracy and War,” Mary E. Papke, University of Tennessee;

“Susan Glaspell and the Epistemological Crisis of Modernity: Truth, Knowledge, and Art in Selected Novels,” Kristina Hinz-Bode, Universitat Kassel, Germany.

American Theatre and Drama Society Conference 2005

“Writing, Teaching, Performing America,” March 3-5, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS.
Panel: “Susan Glaspell: Playwright Shaping/Transforming American Identity and Drama.”
Chair: Barbara Ozieblo, Universidad de Málaga.

Papers: “Revisions of Gender and the Lesbian Continuum: Relations Among Women in the Life and Dramatic Works of Susan Glaspell,” Cheryl Black, University of Missouri;

“Woman’s Honor or Virtue Unrewarded: Glaspell’s Parodic Challenge to Ideologies of Sexual Conduct in the Early Decades of the 20th Century,” Sharon Friedman, Gallatin School, New York University;

“Glaspell and the Discourse of American Taste,” J. Ellen Gainor (Cornell University)

“Drama and Cultural Pluralism in the America of Susan Glaspell’s Inheritors,” Noelia Hernando-Real, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid;

“Glaspell’s Modernist New Woman in The Verge and Other Plays,” Barbara Ozieblo, Universidad de Málaga;

“Susan Glaspell and the Politics of Performing Women,” Monica Stufft, University of California, Berkeley.

The Susan Glaspell Society panel at the ATDS/University of Kansas Conference had a good audience and panelists gave papers that opened up new topics for Glaspell research. Cheryl began the session with an investigation of the lesbian continuum in Glaspell’s writing, showing how an understanding of the invention of compulsory hetereosexuality as a political and economic institution in American life can provide us with new insights into her work. Sharon examined Glaspell’s use of parody in Woman’s Honor and argued that it allowed her to think backward at the same time that she thinks forward with ironic critical distance. Ellen Gainor explored the conflicting categories of the commercial and the purely artistic, or the modernist and the avant-garde as applied to Glaspell’s fiction and plays and the consequences of using such labels. Noelia deconstructed Inheritors from the critical stance provided by cultural pluralism and was able to show how Glaspell rethinks the concept of American identity in this play in a way that can only be labeled as radical. Basia (Barbara) looked at Glaspell’s relationship with her audience in Chains of Dew and The Verge, indicating that the different types of protagonist and tones of the two plays reveal a response to her attempt to write for Broadway. The session ended with Monica who explored the communities of women that the theatre brought together, and the new set of possibilities and material and ideological constraints that work for groups such as the Provincetown Players or the Ziegfield Girls offered women.

On Friday evening there was a staged reading of Inheritors, in a version that had been cut and prepared by Iris Fischer, and directed by Erin Jones. Ellen Gainor read Olivia Morton and Isabel Fejevary and, in spite of an oncoming cold, was magnificent. We all agreed that hearing/seeing Inheritors gave us new insights into the play and emphasized its relevance to today’s world and events. The SGS web site provides this version of Inheritors, (see link on Performances page) making the abridged text available for future productions.

Panelists (l to r) Sharon Friedman, Monica Stufft, Basia Ozieblo, Cheryl Black, Noelia Hernando-Real, and J. Ellen Gainor, read their papers

SGS members (l to r) Drew Eisenhauer, Sherry Engle, and Basia Ozieblo