Susan Keating Glaspell, Free Laughter

Linda Ben-Zvi (Tel Aviv University)
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Free Laughter

is unique among Susan Glaspell’s 14 dramas. It is one of her shortest plays, only 15 handwritten pages in manuscript form; it is her only allegory, and her only play never produced nor registered with the Library of Congress for copyright. Unknown until 1986, when, by chance, I discovered it among some of her papers in the Regie Cabral Private Collection in Provincetown, it was published for the first time in

Susan Glaspell: The Complete Plays

in 2010 (Ben-Zvi and Gainor, 117-24). Despite the fact that she wrote the play in 1919,

Free Laughter

 remains as fresh, relevant and thought-provoking today as it was when she wrote it, since it describes a society disturbingly similar to present-day America. In it she focuses on “the Red Scare”, that period begun at the end of…

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Citation: Ben-Zvi, Linda. "Free Laughter". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 September 2019 [, accessed 13 April 2024.]

38966 Free Laughter 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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