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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In the first quarter of the twentieth century, Greek drama played a role in the creation by women of a new American Modernist cultural identity. This chapter discusses four Americans who used Greek plays to meditate on their identity as feminists and as creators of Modernist artworks which challenged the complacent, patriarchal, Ivy League monopoly on the Greek “Classics” and explore female subjectivity: Isadora Duncan, H.D., Willa Cather, and Susan Glaspell. Greek tragedy helped them make innovatory strides in aesthetic form as well as in techniques of adaptation of content, in Glaspell’s case contributing, to a previously unacknowledged degree, to the creation of a newly radical dramatic tradition in the theater of the Provincetown Players. Cather and Glaspell also used the Greeks to create links with the culture of indigenous Americans and to grapple with the challenge which gross disparities in income and class status posed to the “official” American ideals of equality and freedom.

Keywords: Isadora Duncan, Susan Glaspell, H.D., Willa Cather, Greek, drama, tragedy, Modernism, identity, Provincetown Players

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