The Road to the Temple

A Biography of George Cram Cook

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About the Book

Eugene O’ Neill is one of America’s most celebrated playwrights, but relatively few Americans know the name of the man who essentially gave O’ Neill his first chance at greatness: George Cram “Jig” Cook, one of America’s most colorful and original thinkers and the founder of the Provincetown Players, the first company to stage O’Neill. Cook’s story, with all its hopes, dreams, and disappointments, is told in The Road to the Temple.
First published in 1927 in the United States and reprinted in 1941, this biography is the work of Cook’s third wife, Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Susan Glaspell, It traces Cook’s lifelong search for self, a search that took him from his birthplace in Davenport, Iowa, to New York to Delphi; from university teaching and truck farming, to the Provincetown Players, to the antiquity of Greece. Part of Jig’s story is told by excerpts from his journals, pictures, poetry, and fiction. Interwoven with narrative flashbacks, these entries concerning his day-to-day activities as well as his thoughts and feelings bring him to life for the reader. In addition, Glaspell offers finely crafted portraits of the American Midwest in the late nineteenth century; a vivid picture of Greenwich Village between 1910 and 1920; and a moving and lyrical account of the life she and Jig lived in Greece, where Jig died on January 11, 1924. A compelling combination of biography and autobiography, this volume presents a unique and personal picture of a fascinating American original.”

About the Author(s)

The late Susan Glaspell was a leading modern American woman playwright.
Linda Ben-Zvi is professor Emerita from Tel Aviv University and Colorado State University in theatre and English.

Bibliographic Details

Susan Glaspell
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 364
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2084-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Light of Imagination by Linda Ben-Zvi      1

Preface to the 1927 Edition      19

Preface to the 1941 Edition      23

1. The Unintended Beauty      31

2. Who Is an Honest Man?      36

3. A Log-cabin      40

4. Calendars      44

5. Pop-eye Wilson      49

6. The Silence of Noon      52

7. Wordsworth on the Mississippi      56

8. Harvard, ’93      61

9. John Alden      67

10. Black Hawk’s Watch Tower      71

11. Heidelberg      77

12. His Friend Mrs. Y_____      80

13. Instructor Cook      83

14. Sappho in Iowa City      87

15. Dream Cities      91

16. Kipling to Corporal Cook      96

17. “Unsent”      102

18. “The Faggot and the Flame”      107

19. The Truck-Farmer      113

20. Life Breaks a Shell      122

21. The Locked Door      128

22. World of Symbols      138

23. Behold the Sun!      144

24. “The Needle and the North”      152

25. The Monist Society      158

26. The Greenhouse Speaks      166

27. Though Stone Be Broken      172

28. Chicago      176

29. Our House in Provincetown      186

30. The Rhythm of the Days      195

31. The Old Wharf      200

32. Fire from Heaven      208

33. Certain Women      213

34. Nezer      218

35. Paths to “The Spring”      226

36. The Beloved Community      234

37. The Parthenon!      243

38. Making New Friends      249

39. Delphi      253

40. The Music of the Flocks      260

41. The Bird and the Gods      267

42. Shepherds and Bandits      275

43. A Winter in Athens      279

44. TòPuppy      285

45. The Brook Runs Red      291

46. Our Days at Kalania      295

47. Building Walls      300

48. “At Fifty I Ask God”      305

49. The Play Begins      310

50. By an Ancient Threshing-Floor      319

51. The Play Continues      325

52. Death in Delphi      330

53. “The Women Spin—The Sheep Pass”      336

Notes on the Text      341

Selected Bibliography by Linda Ben-Zvi      345

Index      351

Book Reviews & Awards

“polished and poetic”—The Eugene O’Neill Review.