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by Susan Glaspell
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The Far Cry
A Well Full of Leaves
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ISBN 9780953478033


Fidelity (1915) is a classic that should be put beside books by writers such as Edith Wharton and Willa Cather. Set in Iowa in 1900 and in 1913, this dramatic and deeply moral novel uses complex but subtle use of flashback to describe a girl named Ruth Holland, bored with her life at home, who falls in love with a married man and runs off with him; when she comes back more than a decade later we are shown how her actions have affected those around her.

Ruth had taken another woman's husband and as such 'Freeport' society thinks she is 'a human being who selfishly – basely – took her own happiness, leaving misery for others. She outraged society as completely as a woman could outrage it... One who defies it – deceives it – must be shut out from it.' But, like Emma Bovary, Edna Pontellier in The Awakening and Nora in A Doll's House, Ruth has 'a diffused longing for an enlarged experience... Her energies having been shut off from the way they had wanted to go, she was all the more zestful for new things from life...' It is these themes that are explored in Fidelity

Today Susan Glaspell is mostly only known for her plays (the most famous is 'Trifles'), but in our view ought to be considered one of the most important American novelists of the twentieth century. 

Also available as a (free) e-book


The endpapers show a Log Cabin quilt, now in a museum in England, sewn in the late C19th near Iowa; the red pieces are an echo of the Sangré de Cristo mountains in Colorado, where Ruth is exiled.

Picture Caption

Susan Glaspell in 1913

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Categories: Abroad Adultery America Love Story Sex Single Women

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