Spectators, Actors and the American Dramatic Text
Edited By Barbara Ozieblo and María Dolores Narbona-Carrión
The Woman Artist as Portrayed by Rachel Crothers and Heather McDonald 69
The Woman Artist as Portrayed by Rachel Crothers and Heather McDonald María Dolores NARBONA-CARRIÓN University of Málaga “Every art contributes to the greatest art of all, the art of living.” (Brecht 204) Theater has always represented a crucial arena where human beings’ lives, feelings, anxieties and reform proposals have been reflected and explored in relation to many different fields – cultural, social and politi- cal – a fact that has been favored by its public character and projection. Thus, although women have on the whole been ignored by the theatrical world from its very origins, the so-called American “New Woman” took advantage of the opportunities of expression that the stage offered and which have been emphasized by numerous salient figures from different epochs, such as Richard Wagner, W. B. Yeats, Gordon Craig, Kenneth Macgowan, and the very influential Bertolt Brecht. As Viv Gardner explains, the term “New Woman,” in the period of 1894 to 1914, was almost synonymous with our contemporary “feminist,” and it was reputedly first used by the radical novelist Sarah Grand, in an article in the North American Review of May 1894 (vii). These New Women followed the example of some of their predecessors – brave women like Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820) or Ana Cora Mowatt (1819-1870), to mention but a few – and worked to clear the path that their successors would take. From the many subjects that they chose to display on stage before their audiences, the question of the unjust situation of the woman artist...
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