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Arthur Miller's America

Theater and Culture in a Time of Change

Enoch Brater, Editor

Publication Year: 2005

Perspectives on America's greatest living playwright that explore his longstanding commitment to forging a uniquely American theater Arthur Miller's America collects new writing by leading international critics and scholars that considers the dramatic world of icon, activist, and playwright Arthur Miller's theater as it reflects the changing moral equations of his time. Written on the occasion of Miller's 85th year, the original essays and interviews in Arthur Miller's America treat the breadth of Miller's work, including his early political writings for the campus newspaper at the University of Michigan, his famous work with John Huston, Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe on The Misfits, and his signature plays like Death of a Salesman and All My Sons.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Series: Theater: Theory/Text/Performance

Front Matter

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pp. vii-x

Arthur Miller was born north of Central Park in Manhattan on October 17, 19I5. Nineteen years later, after two rejection letters and a successful appeal to the dean, he arrived on the University of Michigan campus as one of a cadre of East Coasters who left home to try their luck at one of America's great Midwestern centers of higher learning. He hitchhiked part of the way. That journey from New York to Ann Arbor ...


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pp. xi-xii

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Early Days, Early Works: Arthur Miller at the University of Michigan

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pp. 1-16

Arthur Miller’s long association with the University of Michigan actually began with a rejection letter—two of them, in point of fact.When he graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933, he needed four faculty members to write letters of recommendation; he could find only three. He had flunked algebra three times, ...

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The Timebends World: Prospect for Performance

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pp. 17-22

I am a playwright. And, from the very first time I read Timebends, I thought it would make a wonderful theater piece. ...

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Arthur Miller and the Drama of American Liberalism

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pp. 23-35

Though it is generally acknowledged that Arthur Miller is a Liberal, that his writings consistently reflect Liberal concerns, and that his plays find their dramatic sources in the Liberal tradition of modern drama initiated by Ibsen, little has been said about exactly what kind of Liberal Miller is.1 He’s a very stubborn and active one, certainly, as his refusal ...

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Teaching the Unseen Presence in Miller’s Plays

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pp. 36-45

My students enjoy reading Arthur Miller’s plays. They are especially drawn to his characters (“Willy’s just like my father”) and to his intense dialogue and the meaningful conflicts he dramatizes. But class discussion rises to a higher level once students are aware of a striking effect evident in many of his plays. Again and again, Miller creates an unseen presence in the dramatic world ...

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All My Sons: Competing Contexts and Comparative Scales

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pp. 46-59

For over half a century, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons (1947) has served as an exemplary instance of melodramatic plotting and prototypical realistic setting.1 With the action of the play set in Joe Keller’s 1940s suburban backyard, the world “green with sod” is, indeed, a decidedly familiar one (5).2 ...

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Setting the Scene: Death of a Salesman and After the Fall

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pp. 60-77

In his essay “After the Fall and After,” Albert Wertheim makes a strong case for a decisive shift in Miller’s career during the eight-year hiatus between the opening of his revised version of A View from the Bridge and the opening of After the Fall (1964). The latter, he suggests, in spite of an unenthusiastic critical response, marks the beginning of “the second flowering of Arthur Miller’s playwriting career.”1 ...

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The Symbolist Scenography of Arthur Miller

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pp. 78-93

Over the past few decades Arthur Miller’s plays have often received a better reception abroad, particularly in London, than at home.There are many factors contributing to this situation, of course, but a significant— and largely overlooked—element is the design or scenography. The visual and spatial environment of a production, its physical texture, as it were, plays a profound if often subliminal role ...

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From Technology to Trope: The Archbishop’s Ceiling and Miller’s Prismatic Drama

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pp. 107-121

The Archbishop’s Ceiling marks a significant departure in Arthur Miller’s drama. Ever since his first Broadway success, All My Sons (1947), Miller has chronicled the American self under pressure, a pressure manifested as the past catching up with the present despite the self ’s attempt to deny that past. ...

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The Misfits and American Culture

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pp. 109-134

We are often told that the first task of the literary critic is not to overlook the obvious. In that spirit, I will begin by saying the most obvious thing possible about The Misfits, that it is a movie and not a play. This makes it almost unique in Arthur Miller’s oeuvre of completed scripts— he authored another film, Everybody Wins (1990), and adapted The Crucible for the big screen in 1996 ...

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Miller, Monroe and the Remaking of Jewish Masculinity

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pp. 135-152

What does it mean to be a man—a father, a son, a husband, a lover? These questions are central to the work of Arthur Miller, who has over the course of his career explored the contradictory penumbras of meaning surrounding each of these with a persistence and an intensity that often—quite literally—reduced audiences to tears. ...

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The American Clock: “Epic Vaudeville”

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pp. 153-163

There is nothing quite like The American Clock among Arthur Miller’s plays. Some of the earlier ones approach its presentational directness, others share its documentary impulse, a few make some use of music; but no other Miller play exploits all these features to make such a distinctive theatrical definition. ...

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“Vaudeville at the Edge of the Cliff”

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pp. 164-173

From the beginning, Arthur Miller has been writing memory plays; his interest has always been in how the weight of the past shapes the present. The past, for Miller, is not merely the events that alter subsequent events—the easy causality of chronology—but the way his characters remember, how they interpret those past events: memory, with its entourage of regret and nostalgia and denial, ...

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Interview with Patrick Stewart: By phone from New York, during the Broadway run of The Ride Down Mt. Morgan June 27, 2000, 10 a.m.

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pp. 174-179

Toby Zinman: I know you’ve said the role [of Lyman Felt] holds great appeal for you; why?

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The Late Plays of Arthur Miller

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pp. 180-190

Since he turned seventy in 1985, Arthur Miller has finished nine new plays (I Think about You a Great Deal, I Can’t Remember Anything, Clara,The Ride Down Mt. Morgan,The Last Yankee, Broken Glass, Mr. Peters’ Connections, Resurrection Blues and Finishing the Picture); he has extensively revised two big plays of the seventies (The Archbishop’s Ceiling and The American Clock), published a magisterial 614-page autobiography ...

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Manipulating Miller

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pp. 191-201

Arthur Miller’s plays are produced in theaters all over the world, and many companies often introduce individual elements of staging. Even on the London stage, where Miller has been more fulsomely appreciated than in New York, and where actors can just manage a convincing American accent, there was, for example, a distinctively British cut to the men’s suits in ...

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In Willy Loman’s Garden: Contemporary Re-visions of Death of a Salesman

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pp. 202-218

More than fifty years after its first Broadway production, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman has become a cultural icon. On one level, the “legacy” of Salesman can be discussed in terms of re-productions or revivals of the work itself, particularly when directorial, design and casting choices allow us to view it from a fresh perspective. ...

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Theorizing Salesman

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pp. 219-235

In a major reorganization of the courses offered at the Yale School of Drama, a one-term seminar previously required only for students in the Department of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism,“Issues in Dramatic and Theatrical Theory,”was made part of a new core curriculum of three year-long courses required for all dramaturgs, directors and playwrights. ...

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William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge and American Opera: A Discussion

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pp. 236-243

Enoch Brater: Bill Bolcom’s involvement with Arthur Miller’s work is quite extraordinary. The project that most concerns us in this discussion is the opera that he wrote based on A View from the Bridge. Bill, why don’t you begin at the beginning, and trace for us, if you would, the history of your relationship with Miller. ...

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A Conversation with Arthur Miller: October 26, 2000

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pp. 244-255

Enoch Brater: Let’s begin with Ann Arbor. Why did you come to study at the University of Michigan? Why didn’t someone like you go to City College in New York, which would have been a very logical path in the middle of the Depression? ...

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Afterword: The Legacy of Arthur Miller

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pp. 256-259

Once, when I asked Arthur Miller what he thought his legacy would be, he answered without hesitation:“Some good parts for actors.” ...


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pp. 260-262


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pp. 263-268

E-ISBN-13: 9780472024384
E-ISBN-10: 0472024388
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472031559
Print-ISBN-10: 0472031554

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 5 B&W photographs
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Theater: Theory/Text/Performance