Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Naturalist Playwright

Description:

This study explores Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s use of the dramatic form to challenge Herbert Spencer’s social Darwinism by offering feminist adaptations of Darwin’s theories of natural and sexual selection. As she does in her career-defining manifesto, Women & Economics (1898), Gilman in her lesser-known plays deploys her own brand of reform Darwinism to serve the feminist cause. Despite her absence in histories of modern drama, Gilman actively participated in the establishment and development of this literary, historical, and cultural movement. After situating Gilman in the context of nineteenth-century naturalist theater, this thesis examines two short dramatic dialogues she published in 1890, “The Quarrel,” and “Dame Nature Interviewed,” as well as two full-length plays, Interrupted (1909) and the Balsam Fir (1910). These plays demonstrate Gilman’s efforts to use the dramatic form in her early plays to “rehearse” for Women & Economics, and in her later drama, to “stage” the theories she presents in that book.

Creator(s): Tolle, Andrew
Creation Date: May 2012
Partner(s):
UNT Libraries
Collection(s):
UNT Theses and Dissertations
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Total Uses: 421
Past 30 days: 18
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Creator (Author):
Publisher Info:
Publisher Name: University of North Texas
Publisher Info: www.unt.edu
Place of Publication: Denton, Texas
Date(s):
  • Creation: May 2012
Description:

This study explores Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s use of the dramatic form to challenge Herbert Spencer’s social Darwinism by offering feminist adaptations of Darwin’s theories of natural and sexual selection. As she does in her career-defining manifesto, Women & Economics (1898), Gilman in her lesser-known plays deploys her own brand of reform Darwinism to serve the feminist cause. Despite her absence in histories of modern drama, Gilman actively participated in the establishment and development of this literary, historical, and cultural movement. After situating Gilman in the context of nineteenth-century naturalist theater, this thesis examines two short dramatic dialogues she published in 1890, “The Quarrel,” and “Dame Nature Interviewed,” as well as two full-length plays, Interrupted (1909) and the Balsam Fir (1910). These plays demonstrate Gilman’s efforts to use the dramatic form in her early plays to “rehearse” for Women & Economics, and in her later drama, to “stage” the theories she presents in that book.

Degree:
Discipline: English
Level: Master's
PublicationType: Thesi
Language(s):
Subject(s):
Keyword(s): Naturalism | modern drama | American | Darwin | Spencer | feminism
Contributor(s):
Partner:
UNT Libraries
Collection:
UNT Theses and Dissertations
Identifier:
  • ARK: ark:/67531/metadc115172
Resource Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Format: Text
Rights:
Access: Public
Holder: Tolle, Andrew
License: Copyright
Statement: Copyright is held by the author, unless otherwise noted. All rights Reserved.