Dr. Susan C. W. Abbotson

  • Professor

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 created and 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 and FaceBook page. She was the first interviewee on the ongoing Arthur Miller Society Podcast, that aired Oct. 2020, https://www.buzzsprout.com/1295477. 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 and conferences. 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, and the work of Director Ivo van Hove. But her research interests extend beyond Drama to include Film, Children’s and Adolescent Literature, The Short Story, Ethnic Literatures, and much of Twentieth Century British and American Literature. She even published an essay on Wallace and Gromit! 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. Her latest published book was Modern American Drama: Playwriting in the 1950s (Methuen, 2019), and she is currently the series editor for twelve individual student editions of Miller’s best known plays for Methuen for which she has solicited writers from around the world, forthcoming 2022.

Education

B.A. Loughborough University

Postgraduate Cert. of Ed. Bristol University

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

Ph.D. University of Connecticut

Selected Publications

Modern American Drama: Playwriting in the 1950s. Methuen, 2019. (Also available electronically).  ISBN: 9781472571427

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

Masterpieces Of 20th-century American Drama. Greenwood Press, 2005. (Also available electronically). ISBN: 0313332231 [Special Chinese edition published 2007]

Thematic Guide to Modern Drama. Greenwood Press, 2003. (Also available electronically). ISBN: 0313319502

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

Understanding Death of a Salesman: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents.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

Also chapters have been published in The Cambridge Companion to American Theatre since 1945, edited by Julia Listengarten and Stephen Di Benedetto, Cambridge UP, 2021; Arthur Miller for the 21st Century: Contemporary Views of His Plays and Ideas. Eds. Stephen Marino and David Palmer, Palgrave, 2020; Ivo van Hove: From Shakespeare to David Bowie. Eds. Susan Bennett and Sonia Massai, Bloomsbury Methuen, 2018; Critical Approaches to The Crucible. Ed. Robert Evans, Salem, 2018; Thornton Wilder in Collaboration: Collected Essays on His Drama and Fiction. Eds. Jackson R. Bryer, Judith P. Hallett, and Edyta K. Oczkowicz, Cambridge Scholars, 2018; Visions of Tragedy in Modern American Drama. Ed. David Palmer, Methuen, 2018; Arthur Miller's Century, Essays Celebrating the 100th Birthday of America's Great Playwright. Ed. Stephen Marino, Cambridge Scholars, 2017; Critical Approaches to Literature: Moral. Ed. Robert Evans, Salem, 2017; Arthur Miller's Collected Essays. Ed. Susan C. W. Abbotson, Penguin, 2016; The Truths We Uncover; The Truths We Wrestle: New Perspectives on August Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle Plays. Ed. Sandra Shannon, McFarland, 2016; Text and Presentation: 2015. Ed. Graley Herren, McFarland, 2016; Stages of Engagement: Theatre and performance 1898-1949. Ed. Josh Polster, 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, Methuen, 2013; Contemporary American Dramatists. Eds. Martin Middeke, Matthew Roudané, and Peter Paul Schnierer, Bloomsbury Academic, 2014; Thornton Wilder: New Perspectives. Eds. Jackson Bryer and Lincoln Konkle, Northwestern UP, 2013; Arthur Miller: Critical Insights. Ed. Brenda Murphy, Salem Press, 2011; Commentary and Notes for The Crucible. By Arthur Miller. Methuen Drama Student Edition. A&C Black, 2010; Tennessee Williams. Ed. Brenda Murphy, Salem Press, 2010; Arthur Miller. Ed. Harold Bloom, Chelsea House, 2007; Miller and Middle America. Ed. Paula Langteau, University Press of America, 2007; The Critical Response to Arthur Miller. Eds. Steven R. Centola and Michelle Cirulli, Praeger, 2006; Arthur Miller: The Twentieth Century Legend. Ed. M. A. Syed, Surabhi Publications, 2006; The Cambridge Companion to Sam Shepard. Ed. Matthew Roudané, 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, University Press of America, 2000.

Also entries in Twentieth-Century and Contemporary American Literature in Context, ed. Linda De Roche, ABC-CLIO, 2021; Contemporary Literature Criticism Online. Ed. Lawrence TrudeauGale/Cengage, 2018; Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Routledge, 2016; Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature, Oxford UP, 2016; Oxford Bibliographies Online: American Literature. Ed. Jackson Bryer, Oxford UP, 2012; Encyclopedia of Broadway and American Culture. Ed. Thomas A. Greenfield, Greenwood Press, 2010; Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter, Houghton Mifflin, 2006; Companion to American Drama. Eds. Jackson R Bryer and Mary C. Hartig, Facts on File, 2004; The Cambridge Guide to Children's Books in English. Ed. Victor Watson, 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 Resources for American Literary Study; Thornton Wilder Society Newsletter; Eugene O'Neill Review; 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.

Courses

ENGL 113 Approaches to Drama: Page to Stage
ENGL 120 Studies in Literature and Identity
ENGL 121 Studies in Literature and Nation
ENGL 123 Studies in Literature and Genre
ENGL 200 Reading Literature and Culture
ENGL 210 Children's Literature: Interpretation and Evaluation
ENGL 324 Literature by Women: Women Dramatists
ENGL 342 Studies in Drama
ENGL 460 Seminar In Major Authors & Themes: Williams and Miller
ENGL 525 Topics In Genre: Modern and Contemporary Drama 
FYS 100 First Year Seminar: Shock Therapy—Drama as Protest