The Major Novels of Susan Glaspell
AUTHOR: Carpentier, Martha C.
PUBLISHER: University Press of Florida
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"Through her use of semiotics and other relatively recent theories, Carpentier shows that Glaspell is at once our contemporary and eternal. She clearly demonstrates that Glaspell is a great novelist whose fiction should be recognized as an important contribution to modernist fiction just as much as her widely anthologized one-act play Trifles is to drama."--Veronica Makowsky, University of Connecticut
In a detailed critical analysis, Martha Carpentier shows how six novels by the modernist American writer Susan Glaspell (1876-1948) speak to readers today, both in their focus on female sexuality and development and in their often subversive narrative form.
Glaspell was prolific, producing 50 short stories, 14 plays, and 9 novels, yet critical rediscovery of her work has focused on her 10-year career as a playwright with the Provincetown Players. Carpentier reestablishes the significance of Glaspell's novels by using a variety of critical methodologies, including psychoanalytic and myth criticism as well as contemporary theories of a female semiotic.
Carpentier also shows how Glaspell's experience writing expressionistic drama enriched her skills as a novelist, and she is unique in seeing Glaspell's two-year sojourn in Greece as a watershed in her life and art. She maintains that the novels that reflect that experience (Fugitive's Return and The Morning Is Near Us) ingeniously parallel a subtext of classical allusion with contemporary life.
In her novels even more radically than in her stories and drama, Glaspell puts women and their relationships with each other on center stage, charting in each a protagonist's journey of self-discovery through her buried past. In this first and definitive study of Glaspell's novels, Carpentier shows how all of them offer significant meaning for a growing contemporary audience.
Martha C. Carpentier, associate professor of English at Seton Hall University, is the author of Ritual, Myth, and the Modernist Text: The Influence of Jane Ellen Harrison on Joyce, Eliot, and Woolf and of articles in Twentieth Century Literature, Yeats Eliot Review, and other journals.
PUBLICATION DATE: 9/26/2001
CATEGORY: Literary Criticism