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Arthur Miller Paperback – 26 Nov 2009
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as definitive as we are likely to get (Bryan Appleyard SUNDAY TIMES)
he reveals the many sides of this iconic writer (DAILY EXPRESS)
'I doubt if we shall be getting a better biography than this.' (Nicholas Bagnall SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
brilliantly crafted...beautifully written and painstakingly researched (Aimee Shalan GUARDIAN)
Biography of one of the greatest of modern playwrights, Arthur Miller (1915-2005).See all Product description
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This book does the man justice. It painstakingly details the politics and progress of events throughout the last one hundred years, and illustrate how Arthur Miller was impacted by and impacted on all he experienced.
A colossal book befitting a colossus of a man.
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ARTHUR MILLER 1915-1962 puts all previous biographical studies of Miller deeply in the shade. Detailed, probing background is its main feature. I plan to base an eight-hour course for retirees entirely on the Cold War/House UnAmerican Activities Committee atmosphere underlying the writing and reception of Miller's two most important plays, DEATH OF A SALESMAN and THE CRUCIBLE. This will range from the most accurate picture yet presented of Miller's gradually changing leftist stance that began in the thirties, all the way to the largely irrational, sometimes downright spooky responses to those plays from dogmatists on the right.
The book is also written lucidly and richly. It should be engrossing to ordinary readers and Miller scholars alike.
This biography of Arthur Miller is quite thorough, but I am afraid, awfully slow going. Bigsby moves chronologically trough Miller's life until the death of his second wife, Marilyn Monroe, and then covers the remaining 50 years in the book's final two chapters. But if we are in, say 1949, we will get two or three later recollections of events of that year. Miller's older brother Kermit, for example, writes a letter about how happy he is in the aftermath of World War II, but later comments from Kermit's son suggest that his father was manic depressive from the end of the war until his death. While this approach offers valuable insight, Bigsby relies on the tactic far too much and plowing through this book becomes a chore.
Bigsby pays far too much attention to politics, and not enough to Miller's plays. Bigsby spends a lot of time defending Miller's politics, in part by saying his flirtation with the Communist Party in the 1930s was just that.
But the fact that Miller was wildly wrong about Communism as a political system does not mean he was wrong about the devastating effects of capitalism on the Willy Lomans of the world.
Bigsby devotes more time to Marilyn Monroe and the House on Un American Activies Committee than he does to Miller's masterpieces. And I even skipped a chapter entitled HUAC.