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LUTHER: A PLAY Paperback – 1961

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Paperback, 1961
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
To read: terrific. 18 July 2012
By Les carbonnades flamandes - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have not seen the 1974 and 2001 filmed versions, or a live stage performance, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading the playscript. Yes, it is a didactic, Brechtian piece, and good for it. I enjoy reading plays because in my mind the action and visuals and voices are so good!

"Luther" is an excellent skim-through of an important era, and its ramifications started long before Luther, and have continued up to today. I'd recommend this as a kind of quick history of the reformation. GB Shaw could have written one of the sharp lines spoken by the papal investigator, when Luther demands that the authorities prove his errors via the Bible: roughly, "Martin, you run to the same place as all heretics do, to the Scriptures."
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Creating the Protestants 23 Jan. 2000
By Jonathan R. Reynolds - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Osborne, the popular enfant terrible of British drama in the 1950's and 60's (then ignored once his politics became unfashionable in artistic circles) won several awards for this play, an interesting but hardly comprehensive portrait of Martin Luther's career. The title role (originally played by Albret Finney)is challenging for an actor, and intriguing for the reader. The second act--in which Luther fights the Catholic Church--is strong and well-written; the first is also dramatic in its attempt to explain why Luther did what he did; the third, however, by viewing Luther at the end of his life, disappoints because we are only TOLD about his accomplishments rather than sharing them.
The scope of the play is too large--it tries to cover too much time rather than concentrating on one (or a few) specific events. But it is a curious and fascinating play; few are written about religion any more, and for that alone it is engrossing.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fun afternoon read 2 Sept. 2002
By G. Krehbiel - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
He strikes an interesting balance between the various Luther mythologies: the "Oak of Saxony" of ideolized Protestantism, the "Devil's Spawn" of reactionary Catholicism, and the mentally disturbed creature of speculative psychology.
It doesn't break any new ground or make any brilliant points, but it's a fun read.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Not only read it, but performed it. 29 Dec. 2000
By Nick - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not only have I read Luther, but I have performed in the play. I played the Role of John Tetzel, the Dominican monk who sells indulgences. I found the play rather boring. Tetzel's scene in Act 2 scene 1 is one of the few entertaining bits of the play though a 4 page monolouge is a lot to memorize.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Flavorless 19 Aug. 2004
By JMack - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was excited to learn that a play existed about the life Of Martin Luther. When I look at this book in the literary sense, it is actually pretty bad. The long diatribes in an actual performance must be tedious and downright painful to the audience. These sermons take the place of any real story about the life of Luther. When I look at the play in a historical sense, the work is important in that it gives readers a very concise look at Luther's work and the significance of him standing up to the Catholic Church hierarchy. The facts that are mentioned about Luther's life are very sparse.

John Osborne had a good idea in trying to write the play. Unfortunately, there realy is no story. There is no action. Some lines go on for an entire page. As an actor, this certainly is not easy to perform with zest. The basic idea behind Luther's work is told. Beyond that, I can gage little more about the man. Although Osborne would have us believe that Luther had some serious issues with his bowel movements.
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