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Susan Abbotson

Craig-Lee Hall (163)
(401) 456-2803
(401) 456-8028

Academic Background

  • B.A. Loughborough University

  • Postgraduate Cert. of Ed. Bristol University

  • M.A. State University of New York (Brockport)

  • Ph.D. University of Connecticut

Born and bred just outside Liverpool in the UK, Professor Abbotson ventured to American shores in 1990 and finally found Rhode Island College in 1999, where she has taught ever since. While she has taught a variety of courses at the college, her main field is Modern and Contemporary Drama. A leading scholar on the work of Arthur Miller, Professor Abbotson has published three books and many articles on this seminal American writer. She has been President of the Arthur Miller Society, currently serves on their board, and manages their website. She is also the Performance Editor for the Arthur Miller Journal, was one of a panel of experts to discuss Arthur Miller on Tom Ashbrook's On Point, NPR, 12 Feb., 2005, and has been invited to talk about Miller at a number of area theaters. Professor Abbotson has also published pieces on playwrights such as Tennessee Williams, Sam Shepard, Thornton Wilder, Paula Vogel, Mae West, William Inge, August Wilson, and Eugene O’Neill. But her research interests extend beyond Drama to include Film, Children’s and Adolescent Literature, The Short Story, Ethnic Literatures, and Twentieth Century British and American Literature. She even published an essay on Wallace and Gromit! She is also an avid historian of the ukulele and likes to play the instrument to relax. Her essay on This I Believe, Rhode Island. NPR, was aired on 25 July, 2012, and was about the joy she gets in watching her dog run. She is currently working on a contracted book: Modern American Drama: Playwriting in the 1950s. London: Methuen, forthcoming 2016.

Courses Taught

ENGL 113 Approaches to Drama: Page to Stage
ENGL 123 Studies in Literature and Genre
ENGL 201 Literary Studies: Analysis
ENGL 206 British Literature Since 1800
ENGL 210 Children's Literature: Interpretation and Evaluation
ENGL 322 Redefining Drama in the Modern Age
ENGL 324 Literature by Women: Women Dramatists
ENGL 342 Landmarks in Contemporary Drama
ENGL 460 Seminar In Major Authors & Themes: Williams and Miller
ENGL 525 Topics In Genre: Modern and Contemporary Drama



Critical Companion to Arthur Miller : A Literary Reference to His Life And Work, New York: Facts on File, 2007. ISBN: 0816061947

Masterpieces Of 20th-century American Drama, Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2005. ISBN: 0313332231

Thematic Guide to Modern Drama, Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2003. ISBN: 0313319502

Student Companion to Arthur Miller, Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2000. (Also available electronically). ISBN: 0313309493

Understanding Death of a Salesman : A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999. (Also available electronically). ISBN: 0313304025

Also chapters have been published in The Truths We Uncover; The Truths We Wrestle: New Perspectives on August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle Plays. Ed. Sandra Shannon. New York: McFarland, 2016; Stages of Engagement: Theatre and performance 1898-1949. Ed. Josh Polster. New York: Routledge, 2015; A Student Handbook to the Plays of Arthur Miller: All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, Broken Glass. Ed. Enoch Brater. London: Methuen, 2013; Contemporary American Dramatists. Eds. Martin Middeke, Matthew Roudané, and Peter Paul Schnierer. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014; Thornton Wilder: New Perspectives. Eds. Jackson Bryer and Lincoln Konkle. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 2013; Arthur Miller: Critical Insights. Ed. Brenda Murphy. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 2011; Commentary and notes for The Crucible. By Arthur Miller. Methuen Drama Student Edition. London: A&C Black, 2010; Tennessee Williams. Ed. Brenda Murphy, Hackensack, NJ: Salem Press, 2010; Arthur Miller. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York : Chelsea House, 2007; Miller and Middle America. Ed. Paula Langteau. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2007; The Critical Response to Arthur Miller. Eds. Steven R. Centola and Michelle Cirulli. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2006; Arthur Miller: The Twentieth Century Legend. Ed. M. A. Syed. Jaipur: Surabhi Publications, 2006; The Cambridge Companion to Sam Shepard. Ed. Matthew Roudané. New York: Cambridge UP, 2002; and The Salesman Has a Birthday: Essays Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Ed. Steve Marino. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2000.

Also entries in Oxford Bibliographies Online: American Literature. Ed. Jackson Bryer. New York: Oxford UP, 2012; Encyclopedia of Broadway and American Culture. Ed. Thomas A. Greenfield. Greenwood Press, 2010; Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006; Companion to American Drama. Eds. Jackson R Bryer and Mary C. Hartig. New York: Facts on File, 2004; The Cambridge Guide to Children's Books in English. Ed. Victor Watson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001 and the Drama section for Resources for Teaching: Literature and Its Writers, 1st Ed. by Ann and Sam Charters, Boston: Bedford, 1997. (Additional entries on plays and short stories for the 2nd Ed. Bedford, 2000).

Articles and reviews have appeared in Arthur Miller Journal; Journal of American Drama and Theater; Laconics; Theatre Research International; Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies; The Arthur Miller Society Newsletter; Modern Drama; Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature; American Drama; South Atlantic Review; English Studies and Charles Lamb Bulletin.

Page last updated: April 01, 2019