Category Archives: Conferences

Society for the Study of American Women Writers 4th International Conference 2009

October 21-24, Philadelphia, PA.

Panel: “Susan Glaspell’s Alison’s House and the Legacy of Emily Dickinson.”
Chair: J. Ellen Gainor, Cornell University.

This panel invited papers considering any aspect of the relationship between the Emily Dickinson legend and Glaspell’s 1931 Pulitzer Prize winning drama. Possible topics included the relationship between the Dickinson biographies (Taggard’s and/or others) or other treatments of the Dickinson legend and Glaspell’s play; comparisons between Alison’s House and other dramas about the Dickinson legend; comparisons of Glaspell’s and Dickinson’s writing; historical analyses of the controversial Eva Le Gallienne production of Alison’s House or its critical reception; new directions in the study of Alison’s House alone or in combination with other Glaspell works.

Papers:  “No Hard Evidence: Alison’s House and Emily Dickinson,” Basia Ozieblo, Universidad de Malaga;

“Susan Glaspell’s Alison’s House and the Many Meanings of Emily Dickinson’s Legacies,” Sharon Friedman, the Gallatin School, New York University;

“On Closets and Graves: Intertextualities in Susan Glaspell’s Alison’s House and Emily Dickinson’s Poetry,” Noelia Hernando-Real, La Salle College-Universidad Autonoma de Madrid;

“Susan Glaspell, Eva La Gallienne: Queering . . . Chekov?” Drew Eisenhauer, University of Maryland.

Staged Reading of Alison’s House presented by the Susan Glaspell Society
Friday evening October 22, 6:00-8:00
Abridged, Directed, and Introduced by Cheryl Black, University of Columbia-Missouri

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

American Drama Conference 2008

November 1-9, Saint Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

Panel: “Staging Modern Geographies: Susan Glaspell and the Dramatic Space.”
Chair: Noelia Hernando-Real, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

Papers:  “Susan Glaspell’s Theatre and the ‘Discourse of Home,'” Sharon Friedman, Gallatin School, NYU;

“On the Margins of Utopia: Heterotopian Houses in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles and The Outside,” Emeline Jouve, Toulouse University;

“Crumbling Geographies: The House of Usher in Susan Glaspell’s Theatre,” Noelia Hernando-Real.

Workshop: “Broader Contexts for Teaching Susan Glaspell.”
Chair: Barbara Ozieblo, University of Málaga.


Nieves Alberola, Universidad de Jaume I, Castellón; Judith E. Barlow, University at Albany, SUNY; Martha C. Carpentier, Seton Hall University; Sherry Engle, CUNY; Drew Eisenhauer, University of Maryland; Sharon Friedman, Gallatin School, New York University; Noelia Hernando-Real, La Salle Collage-Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; Michael Winetsky, Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Symposium 2008

Americans and the Experience of Delphi,” June 24-26, Delphi, Greece.

Presented by the Richard Stockton College Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies; Executive Director: Tom Papademetriou, Conference Director, David Roessel.

On one side of the Philadelphia Art Museum stands a replica of the famous statue of “The Charioteer” in the archaeological museum of Delphi. The statue is more than simply a copy of a famous work of art; it also represents a cultural matrix linked to the ancient shrine of Apollo at Delphi, a matrix that centers on what it means to be human and happy as encapsulated in the phrases “know yourself” and “nothing in excess.”  Often in current discourse “Greek” or “Hellenic” is taken as a single ideological construct, but “Greece” as an idea is polymorphous and multicultural, and Delphi occupies a key place within that ideological construct.  By understanding what it meant, and continues to mean, in the modern age, we take a step toward knowing ourselves.  And within that step, of course, lies the meaning of Apollo’s sanctuary.

Participants in this symposium examined the work of American and European artists, writers, and scholars who stood at the ancient site and, like the founders of the famed Provincetown Players, George Cram Cook and Susan Glaspell, inhabited Delphi in body and mind.  Participants analyzed how the “spirit” of Delphi inspired individuals, and how they in turn infused that spirit into American literature and culture, presenting, in addition to Glaspell and Cook, papers on Isadora Duncan, Eva Palmer Sikelianos and her role in the Delphic Festivals of the 1920s, H. D., Henry Miller, and James Merrill.     

Susan Glaspell Society Panels and Papers:

June 24, George Cram Cook Session, Chair Christa Frantantoro:
“Jig Cook’s Road to the Temple,” Linda Ben-Zvi, Tel Aviv University.

June 25, Susan Glaspell Session, Chair Marina Angel:
“Letters Home: Susan Glaspell’s Experience of Delphi,” Barbara Ozieblo, University of Málaga;

“Susan Glaspell’s Greece: the people, the place and the past,” Martha C. Carpentier, Seton Hall University;

“Susan Glaspell’s Female Charioteers: the spirit of Delphi and Aristotle’s Poetics in Inheritors, The Verge, and The Comic Artist,” Noelia Hernando-Real, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid;

“The Noble Peasant: Humanism and Primitivism in Glaspell’s Life and Work,” Michael Winetsky, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

June 26, L’Envoi to George Cram Cook Session, Chair David Roessel:
“The Influence of George Cram Cook’s Delphic Spirit on Eugene O’Neill,” Michael Solomonson; Northland Pioneer College.

University of Athens students presented a spirited reading of Suppressed Desires on the evening of the 26th.

For more information:
Delphi Symposium Program
Susan Glaspell Paper Abstracts

The Theatre of Dionysus and Temple of Apollo at Delphi, which Glaspell celebrated in Fugitive's Return and The Road to the Temple.

Linda Ben-Zvi and guide take us to Susan and Jig's camp in Kalania (SGS members left to right, Michael Winetsky, Martha Carpentier, Yoko Chase, Noelia Hernando-Real, and Linda Ben-Zvi). "The forest opens and gives us Kalania--the mountain park, that secret beauty, loveliness that is like a heart, a heart guarded by mountains of spruce" (The Road to the Temple 261).

Eugene O’Neill Society 7th Annual Conference 2008

“O’Neill’s Global Legacy,” June 11-15, Tao House, Danville CA.

Panel: “Performing Race, Gender, and Nation: Susan Glaspell, Eugene O’Neill
and the Modern Drama Classroom.”
Chair: Monica Stufft, University of California Berkeley.

This panel explored the global legacies of the two playwrights and considered the ways we locally stage these legacies in a broadly defined modern drama classroom that includes scholarship and productions. Papers investigated intertextual links around issues of race, gender and/or nation, and considered questions such as how do the plays of Glaspell and O’Neill construct identities both nationally and internationally? How might issues of race, gender and/or nation circulate when we frame these playwrights as American in relation to the European modern theatrical tradition and, in our scholarship and productions, as part of the modern drama canon?

Papers:  “Divided by a Common Language: O’Neill, Glaspell and the European Modern Drama Tradition,” Francesca Coppa;

“Performing Liberalism: Empathy and Protest in an Age of Nationalist Fervor,” Michael Winetsky, City University of New York;

“American Bodies: Intersections of Race and Gender in Emperor Jones and Inheritors,” Monica Stufft, University of California Berkeley.

18th Annual American Literature Association Conference 2007

May 24-27, Boston MA.
Panel: “The Grotesque in the Work of Susan Glaspell, Djuna Barnes, Zora Neal Hurston
and Their Modernist Contemporaries.”
Chair: Mary E. Papke, University of Tennessee.

As Philip Thomson argues in his The Grotesque, the grotesque depends for its effect on disharmony and ambiguity, an interruption of the normal by an eruption of the freakish, the ominous, and the estranged. He goes on to argue that it most often appears in art and literature during periods of great strife, radical change, or profound disorientation, periods, that is, like that of the modernists in which artists responded in their works to both national and international crises and possibilities. The American literary grotesque is exemplified in the work of Edgar Allan Poe and Flannery O’Connor, but it is not totally surprising that it also figures in important ways in the work of early modernists who were determined to break with the sentimental and romantic movements that preceded their emergence and to make of American literature something shockingly new. The grotesque in art is typically defined as work in which the natural and the monstrous are intertwined in bizarre or fanciful combinations; somewhat strangely, then, the grotesque character elicits from the reader both disgust and empathy in that such a character repulses us even as it whets our desire to understand its otherness. In Glaspell’s work, we see the grotesque emerge both in her plays (such as The Verge) and in her novels (Fugitive’s Return, for example), two examples that indicate well the different uses to which the grotesque can be put. Other modernists employ the grotesque in similarly innovative ways.

Papers:  “‘Getting at things in terms of the preposterous’: The Satiric Grotesque in Susan Glaspell’s World War I-Era Stories,” Martha C. Carpentier, Seton Hall University;

“Macabre Revelations: The Grotesque and Eugenics in Glaspell and MacKaye,” Kimberly A. Miller, Fort Hays State University;

“The Grotesque Tradition and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God,” Mary McAleer Balkun, Seton Hall University.

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.

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.

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.