A revealing look at Arthur Miller's political sensibilities as evidenced in his dramatic works and other writings
Jeffrey D. Mason's Stone Tower sets out to enrich—and challenge—traditional views of playwright Arthur Miller. While Miller has long been acclaimed as a social dramatist, this fresh appraisal clearly establishes him as an essentially political playwright. The book pays close attention not only to the public and private power relations in Miller's dramatic works but also in his nondramatic writings.
Stone Tower begins with a detailed critique of Miller's 1956 testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities and of his published essays on topics ranging from Nazism to the contested presidential election of 2000. Mason moves on to explore Miller's dramatic works, presenting All My Sons and Death of a Salesman as plays that stage the political in personal terms, then offering The Crucible and The Archbishop's Ceiling as explorations of the personal in political terms.
The book provides invaluable insights on Miller's theatrical response to the Holocaust in Incident at Vichy, Broken Glass, Playing for Time, and After the Fall. It offers revealing analyses of Miller's treatment of women throughout his plays and aspects of male domination in The Ride Down Mt. Morgan. Mason concludes with Miller's late satire Resurrection Blues as evidence that the playwright's mistrust of authority and social power remained unresolved.
With attention to staging issues, social history, and dramatic analysis, the book explores the impact of this canonical American dramatist, breaks new ground in Miller studies, and suggests the deeper implications and extensive engagement of the American theater of the latter twentieth century.
Stone Tower opens up new territory in Miller studies by exploring the political impact of this canonical American dramatist. This book should be useful to theater scholars and students, as well as readers who want to familiarize themselves with Miller's work.
Photo of Arthur Miller by Bob Kalmbach, 1973, University of Michigan Photo Services
"Mason offers sensitive and intelligent readings of Miller's plays, his particular angle of attack resulting in some stimulating new insights . . . this book will justifiably earn a place in Miller scholarship and prove valuable to generations of students."
—Christopher Bigsby, University of East Anglia
"An imaginative study of a major figure and one of the first really thoughtful treatments of Miller since his death . . . a significant addition to the literature."
—Barry Witham, University of Washington
"...the book's through line of politics and power is clear, and Stone Tower provides interesting insights regarding Miller's work."
—Tyler A Smith, Ball State University