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Written on the Heart (Nick Hern Books) Paperback – 3 Nov 2011

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Nick Hern Books (3 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848422075
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848422070
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,131,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

David Edgar's new play (about The King James Bible), Written on the Heart, is the most bracing and radical attempt so far to construe this masterpiece not just as an object of aesthetic veneration or historical significance but as a document that reflects the prejudices and preoccupations of its period. Premiered in Gregory Doran's powerfully involving and pungently acted production, the piece brings the Reformation and its ideological conflicts stingingly alive. --Independent

A learned, information-packed and engrossing play that sees the Authorised Version in its historical context. Like Howard Brenton in Anne Boleyn, Edgar also finds a hero in the outlawed William Tyndale, whose mission was to translate the scriptures into a readily understandable vernacular... in writing about religion, Edgar has acquired a new eloquence. --Guardian

Reckless faith, literary taste and political expediency collide and swirl in a tough, nourishing play... the Royal Shakespeare Company at its best: fine actors, swimming in great words and ideas. --The Times

About the Author

David Edgar has written extensively for the RSC, with other works including Destiny, Pentecost, The Prisoner's Dilemma and his hugely successful Nicholas Nickleby. Other plays include The Shape of the Table, Continental Divide, Albert Speer, and Playing With Fire. He has also adapted Ibsen's the Master Builder and Julian Barnes Arthur & George. He is the author of the best selling How Plays Work - a masterclass for playwrights and playmakers.

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Format: Paperback
"Written on the Heart" is set in the period between 1536 and 1610 and tells some of the story of the development on the King James Bible. It effectively shows that far from being a supposed faithful rendition of the apparent "word of God", the translators were filled with political and dogmatic spin and fundamental beliefs were at odds in what was supposed to heal the rifts in a time and place where Catholic and a range of protestant beliefs from puritanism to the more laissez fair views had been at odds since Henry VIII's split from the Papal "fold" - or maybe the correct term should be "flock". Such debate over terminology was the very stuff of the conflicts. In fact, the play itself it is as much a celebration of the contribution to language and terms that we use in everyday English as it is about the religious doctrine.

In any historical based play there is always a delicate balance to be gained between "preaching" the facts and making it a good story and there is sufficient personal humour here to balance the sometimes confusing facts that arise from the number of versions and view points of the translations up to the emergence of the King James Bible. It is, then, not only interesting but crucially entertaining. And using tricks that plays can do but conventional narratives cannot, the play brings back the spirit of William Tyndale several years after his death to illustrate the debt that the King James Bible owed to his works.

The text concludes with both a helpful time line of key events and a reproduced article from David Edgar originally published in the Guardian which details some of the inspiration for the story and provides some more conventional narrative of events. Perhaps the only downside is that relatively little is conveyed of Tyndale's remarkable life.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this because I had seen the RSC's Stratford production. I thought it was wonderful on stage and wanted to read the play to reinforce the experience, and I'm glad I did. I'd have said I knew quite a lot about the subject matter but David Edgar knows more and he brings it to life in a really impressive way. One of the best new plays I've seen or read in the last ten years.
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