A Man's World
About the Play
1909, Garrick Theater, New York
First Publication: 1915
3F, 4M, 1 Boy (seven years old)
n the public domain.
Reprinted by Forgotten Books; Kessinger Publishing; Leopold Classic Library. Also in Plays by American Women: 1900-1930, ed. Judith E. Barlow, Applause Books, Hal Leonard Co.
Set in a New York house occupied by a number of artists – both successful and unsuccessful – A Man’s World centers on Frank Ware, a writer raising an adopted son. Frank’s books center on the social wrongs endured by women, a commitment intensified by the suffering of her son’s birth mother. Her editor, Malcolm Gaskell, is in love with Frank and she returns his affection, despite his condescending attitude toward her work. Eventually, however, she must confront the radical differences between his acceptance of the double standard and her insistence that men and women be treated equally.
A Man’s World is one of Crothers’ earliest and most daring dramas. Crothers once said in an interview: “With few exceptions, every one of my plays has been a social attitude toward women at the moment I wrote it.” A Man’s World received mixed but generally positive reviews. One critic praised it as “in many vital respects … the best dramatic work ever produced by an American author.” A year later, however, playwright Augustus Thomas responded with As a Man Thinks, in which a main character argues that “there is a double standard of morality because upon the golden basis of woman’s virtue rests the welfare of the world.” Crothers’ drama clearly touched a sensitive nerve in the American male. When A Man’s World was adapted into a film in 1918, the screenwriter added another suitor for Frank’s hand to create a conventional Hollywood ending.
About the Playwright
Rachel Crothers (1878-1958) had nearly 30 plays produced on Broadway between 1906 and 1937; and she directed most of them herself. “In the last 200 years, a respectable number of women have left their mark on American theater, but few of them have had as impressive a career as Rachel Crothers,” wrote the New York Times in 1980, adding “Although it is rare now to find anyone who has heard of her, Miss Crothers at the apex of her career was the symbol of success in the commercial theater.” Born i…
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