Item description for Arthur Miller: Collected Plays 1944-1961 (Library of America) by Arthur Miller...
Overview A collection of some of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright's most definitive works includes All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, and five additional plays. 12,000 first printing.
Publishers Description In the inaugural volume of its collected edition of Miller's plays, The Library of America gathers the works from the 1940s and 1950s that electrified theatergoers and established Miller as one of the indispensable voices of the postwar era.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.18" Width: 5.24" Height: 1" Weight: 1.15 lbs.
Release Date Feb 2, 2006
Publisher Library of America
ISBN 193108291X ISBN13 9781931082914
Availability 0 units.
More About Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller (1915-2005) was born in New York City and studied at the University of Michigan. His plays include All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), A View from the Bridge and A Memory of Two Mondays (1955), After the Fall (1963), Incident at Vichy (1964), The Price (1968), The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972) and The American Clock (1980). He also wrote two novels, Focus (1945), and The Misfits, which was filmed in 1960, and the text for In Russia (1969), Chinese Encounters (1979), and In the Country (1977), three books of photographs by his wife, Inge Morath. His later work included a memoir, Timebends (1987); the plays The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1991), The Last Yankee (1993), Broken Glass (1994), and Mr. Peter's Connections (1999); Echoes Down the Corridor: Collected Essays, 1944-2000; and On Politics and the Art of Acting (2001). He twice won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and in 1949 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Miller was the recipient of the National Book Foundation's 2001 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters in 2002, and the Jerusalem Prize in 2003. Christopher Bigsby is a professor of American Studies at the University of East Anglia. He edited the Penguin Classics editions of Miller's The Crucible, Death of a Salesman, and All My Sons.
Reviews - What do customers think about Arthur Miller: Collected Plays 1944-1961 (Library of America)?
Arthur Miller Jul 12, 2008
I purchased the book for a former student of mine as she loved studying Arthur Miller in our class. The hard-bound version is nice, and I like the thin paper used for the pages which add a special touch to the gift. The work also includes Miller's plays which I hope she will enjoy for years to come.
Disappointing edition May 1, 2008
As much as I normally like the Library of America volumes, often for the shere beauty of the paper, the print, the binding, the cover etc, I can not fully agree with the praises for the first volume of the Miller edition. My main complaint is the lack of notes on the texts and on the staging and filming history of the plays. Compared to the excellent notes in the 2 Tennessee Williams volumes, the Miller volume 1 is nearly bare. Literally nothing on Misfits. (Wouldn't it at least have been a good pretext to talk about Marilyn for a while?) Zero on the 2 acts version of the View from the Bridge. Almost nothing about the others. Why no reference to the film version of the Crucible? It is only briefly mentioned in the biography section. I find that definitely substandard. I won't comment here on the individual texts. I have posted some separate reviews on the main ones. Some of the smaller ones don't require an individual review, they are not important enough. On the text selection, I am wondering why Focus, the novel from the 40s and basis for the later movie with Macy, Dern and Meatloaf is not included. Because it is not a 'play'? In that case, why is Misfits included? Looks like an inconsistent selection.
Great stuff Sep 26, 2007
This is probably the best value you're going to find. You get 3 of Miller's best and most well known plays (All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible) along with a few other shorter works. It comes in a very handsome edition, hard cover, even has the tassle book mark. My only initial complaint was with the "bible-thin pages." So if you're wanting to outline or take notes just get a pencil instead of a pen. It's a great time capsul and these are truly great works of American theater. Everyone should read these/see these on stage.
Great Variety Jan 3, 2007
The collection had all the plays that I could have wanted by Arthur Miller. It was a smart buy and I can use it forever.
A fine edition of Miller's powerful early works Jun 13, 2006
This volume of the earlier plays by Arthur Miller is not only very well done, it is a really interesting way to immerse oneself into the art of this very important American playwright. I am always delighted with the volumes produced by the Library of America and continue to stress that we owe them our support and gratitude.
The plays collected here begin with "The Man Who Had All The Luck", the first of Miller's work to be produced on Broadway and ends with the novella Miller crafted from the screenplay for the movie "The Misfits" that Miller had done for Marilyn Monroe (his wife at the time). This is the period of "All My Sons, "Death of a Salesman", and "The Crucible" and several other of his best known works for the stage.
Miller was born in New York City in 1915. As an aside, he did attend the University of Michigan here in Ann Arbor for a few years and that connection still matters. The University later gave him an honorary doctorate (one of those honorary degrees that is actually deserved for the significance of his life's work) and is now building a theater named after him.
While his first Broadway play, "The Man Who Had All The Luck" was not a commercial success, it does, I think, provide us an insight into the recurring theme of Miller's work as well as its strengths and weaknesses. It is a play about a man who, for some strange reason, feels burdened for having a life full of good fortune and blessing. He wants to feel like he has earned his success and somehow, no matter what terrible fate is staring him in the face, some fortunate accident happens to turn lead into gold. David Beeves tempts fate with a very risky investment into raising mink and ends up betting his entire net worth on this crazy scheme.
I don't want to discuss the ending of the play (because you should read it), but it seems strange to me that someone facing real life would feel burdened by success and look for pain and hardship to validate him. Yet, it is probably a real psychological state for some. Others have pointed out that this can also be a metaphor for the history of the United States and its internal struggles to deal with its own fortune in the world. And it is this emphasis on psychology and metaphor that can get in the way of the emotional beauty and honest observation of Miller's art. When Miller was writing these plays, psychology was at its zenith of popularity and like all popular ideas; it was simplified to the point of being vastly misunderstood. Now, decades after the fact, it seems for me like seeing someone wearing a wristwatch in a movie on the Roman Empire. For me, it isn't strongly convincing and gets in the way of enjoying the plays as much as I would like.
This is particularly true of "A View From the Bridge" where Eddie's repressed (and maybe unadmitted even to himself) desire for his niece leads to hurt and pain for everyone's in the play. This is on display in both the one-act and two-act versions provided here. The reason this is hard to swallow fifty years later is that sexuality is not repressed in our public or private expression (no matter what Hugh Hefner or Larry Flynt and their ilk continue to preach) and yet people are more obsessed and troubled by sex ruining their lives and relationships than they were when this play was written!
"The Crucible" presents another powerful and popular story. It uses the Salem Village witch trials as a not too subtle commentary on the HUAC hearings, where Miller "refused to name names" as is commonly noted. The drama is a strong one and again uses the notion of repressed sexuality as the heat that starts the fire and then fans into a wildfire of fear and persecution that results in awful executions. Of course, this play only uses the names and some of the broad gestures of the lives of those people. The history of the Salem Village trials is quite different (and actually more interesting) than the play as is the actual history of the HUAC, McCarthy, and spying by Communists and their sympathizers in the U.S. government. However, just as this play has become the "history" of the witch trials, it is also a popular understanding of the oppression of political minorities. Again, this kind of manipulation is powerful and probably expresses Miller's honest belief and understanding (as does his adaptation of Isben's "Enemy of the People" included in this volume), however it is also an example of how art can actually get in the way of understanding by being so effective.
"Death of a Salesman" is clearly Miller's masterpiece and it has held the stage ever since its premier. Here Miller uses shifting perspective that almost sings a song about a proud insignificant man whose life is ending in confusion and pain. It is a fine expression of familial misunderstanding and an inability to move past and forgive hurt. To make this into some kind of universal story of how life is or pointing towards some kind of societal change is to cheapen this hymn for specific kind of man. Still, this play resonates deeply in people and its power cannot be denied. However, if you begin analyzing Willy's choices, he and Biff are quite easy to criticize. Hap is as irrelevant as his mother finally notes, and why the wife wasn't more active sooner remains a mystery. Willy's friend, Charley, not only provides Willy's great eulogy; he is also an example of a patient and great friend who constantly reached out to Willy only to be blocked by Willy's pride.
This is a fine collection of important plays. Whether you end up taking Miller's art into your heart is a deeply personal choice. However, it is really impossible to become literate in American letters without knowing these works and thinking about them in a serious way. While I find the note of despair too pervasive and too heavy for my own sense of life, I respect Miller's skill and deep commitment to his art. He is an important and significant playwright whose works deserve to be read and performed.