Death of a Salesman (The Viking critical library)

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9780140155020: Death of a Salesman (The Viking critical library)

The original CliffsNotes study guides offer a look into critical elements and ideas within classic works of literature. The latest generation of titles in this series also feature glossaries and visual elements that complement the classic, familiar format.

CliffsNotes on Death of a Salesman shares an intimate glimpse into the dreams and disappointments of an American family.

Following the story of Willy Loman, an aging salesman who can′t accept change within himself and society, this study guide provides a character list, character map, and character analyses to explore the personalities within Arthur Miller′s masterful play. Other features that help you figure out this important work include

  • Personal and career background of the author
  • Introduction to and brief synopsis of the play
  • Summaries and expert commentaries for each act and scene
  • Essays that explore the play′s major themes and the author′s manipulation of time and space
  • A review section that tests your knowledge and suggests essay topics and practice projects
  • A Resource Center full of books, publications, films, and Internet resources

Classic literature or modern–day treasure — you′ll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Arthur Miller's 1949 Death of a Salesman has sold 11 million copies, and Willy Loman didn't make all those sales on a smile and a shoeshine. This play is the genuine article--it's got the goods on the human condition, all packed into a day in the life of one self-deluded, self-promoting, self-defeating soul. It's a sturdy bridge between kitchen-sink realism and spectral abstraction, the facts of particular hard times and universal themes. As Christopher Bigsby's mildly interesting afterword in this 50th-anniversary edition points out (as does Miller in his memoir, Timebends), Willy is closely based on the playwright's sad, absurd salesman uncle, Manny. But of course Miller made Manny into Everyman, and gave him the name of the crime commissioner, Lohmann, in Fritz Lang's angst-ridden 1932 Nazi parable, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse.

The tragedy of Loman the all--American dreamer and loser--works eternally, on the page as on the stage. A lot of plays made history around 1949, but none have stepped out of history into the classic canon as Salesman has. Great as it was, Tennessee Williams' work can't be revived as vividly as this play still is, all over the world. (This edition has edifying pictures of Lee J. Cobb's 1949 and Brian Dennehy's 1999 performances.) It connects Aristotle, The Great Gatsby, On the Waterfront, David Mamet, and the archetypal American movie antihero. It even transcends its author's tragic flaw of pious preachiness (which undoes his snoozy The Crucible, unfortunately his most-produced play).

No doubt you've seen Willy Loman's story at least once. It's still worth reading.--Tim Appelo, Amazon.com

From the Back Cover:

Miller′s most famous play, it is the story of the American Dream gone awry when a small man is destroyed by society′s false values. Death of a Salesman won the Pulitzer Prize in 1949 and continues to shine on stages throughout the world even today.

This concise supplement to Arthur Miller′s Death of a Salesman helps students understand the overall structure of the play, actions and motivations of the characters, and the social and cultural perspectives of the author.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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