Lifted Masks and Other Works

Susan Glaspell, Author, Eric Rabkin, Editor University of Michigan Press $25.95 (350p) ISBN 978-0-472-06509-7
Theatrical roots are evident in these short stories by Glaspell (1876-1948), a founder of the Provincetown Players and a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. Sometimes these roots make the stories too talky or too pat, as theatrical dialogue sounds overly ``planned'' when written, but they all boast sturdy narratives and characters who practically jump off the page and begin reciting. Glaspell often touches on the theme of young people who turn out not to be as wise as they thought they were. In one tale, a young American woman attempts to help a blustery middle-aged man around the shops of Paris, silently excoriating his poor taste; in another, a college graduate knows his commencement speech will upset his father, an immigrant who desperately wanted to attend college himself. There are also tales of the strange ways of government, like that of the statehouse elevator boy who rides a lobbyist up to the attic and leaves him there to keep him from influencing a vote, and that of a boy who declares himself an anarchist because he hasn't got the money to pay a dog tax. Trifles, the short play included here, about an investigation into a suspicious hanging, is interesting but out of place. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
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