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The Arthur Miller Theater at the University of Michigan
Calls For Papers:
The Arthur Miller Society is always looking for anyone who would like to organize Miller panels at conferences, such as ALA, SAMLA, NEMLA, CDC, American Studies, ASTR or ATHE–please contact our current President, David Palmer, with proposals/details.
Arthur Miller Journal: Looking for papers on any aspect of the life and work of Arthur Miller for the Arthur Miller Journal which is published Spring and Fall. Go to the Journal page for more detail regarding submissions, subscriptions, contact e-mails for the various editors, and for contents of past volumes. You can make a submission to the Journal of an essay, performance review, or book review, as well as offer material for the notes section–directly at this website. If a Miller play is being produced in your area (check the listings below)–please attend and upload your review through the above link (website).
Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies: published near the close of 2006 a special Arthur Miller Edition: Volume 11, Number 2 (2005): ISSN: 12 18-7364 that contains several new essays on Miller’s work. The Journal is meanwhile looking for further submissions: Manuscripts should conform to the latest edition of the MLA Handbook in all matters of style (parenthetical citations keyed to a works-cited list). Contributions on history should conform to the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. All submissions should be sent together with a disk copy of the article in Word 95 for Windows. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor, HJEAS, University of Debrecen, Pf. 73, Hungary 4010; e-mail: email@example.com
JCDE: Journal of Contemporary Drama in English: published by De Gruyter (Berlin/Boston)
A bi-annual, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on contemporary Anglophone dramatic literature and theatre performance. It renegotiates the understanding of contemporary aesthetics of drama and theatre by treating dramatic texts of the last fifty years, and welcomes essays on the work of Arthur Miller. Essays should be no longer than 8,000 words (including notes and bibliography) and should be formatted according to MLA style (7th edition, 2009). ESSAY CONTRIBUTIONS should be sent to: Prof. Dr. Martin Middeke, Chair of English Literature, University of Augsburg, Universitaetsstraße 10, D-86159 Augsburg, Germany. SUGGESTIONS FOR REVIEWS should be sent to: Prof. Dr. Christina Wald, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Philosophische Fakultät II, Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Unter den Linden 6, D-10099 Berlin, Germany.
The Journal of American Drama and Theatre: a fully online and peer-reviewed journal — is currently seeking submissions for upcoming issues. If you are working on an article related to theatre and/or drama of the Americas, consider submitting it to JADT. Full submission guidelines can be found here, and the most recent issue (guest-edited by ATDS) can be viewed here.
Theatre Annual, founded in 1942 by the Theatre Library Association, is now published in the fall of each year by The College of William and Mary in Virginia in association with the American Theatre and Drama Society. For more information on TA: JTPA, see http://theatreannual.wm.edu/ For more information on ATDS, see www.ATDS.org
CFP and other scholarly opportunities with Deadlines:
CFP: A new anthology is being planned for publication by Bloomsbury: How to Teach a Play: Exercises for the College Classroom, edited by Miriam Chirico (Eastern Connecticut State University) and Kelly Younger (Loyola Marymount University). For more information check out this website: www.bit.ly/teachingplays, where you can submit your ideas (there is a form that asks for you to explain your exercise in piecemeal with sections varying from 25-500 word responses from the ideal class size, preparation, to the outline of what you would actually do). You can also email Miriam and Kelly at KellyandMiriamEditors@gmail.com for more information. Please consider sharing your teaching tips on one of Miller’s plays (not more than 1000 words) for this anthology. You may submit as many exercises as you like, and the editors will begin their selection process in the Fall of 2017. There is a pull down list of suggested texts they would prefer to see covered, and they identify The Crucible and Death of a Salesman as the most commonly taught in High Schools and Colleges.
Call for Papers on Arthur Miller’s The Price
Through fortuitous events, I had dinner last Saturday night (April 15) with Steve and Katie Marino, Jan Balakian, Ramon Espejo-Romero, and Jane Dominik. Jane, who wrote the Student Handbook to Arthur Miller’s “The Price” in the Bloomsbury/Methuen series Enoch Brater edited, mentioned that February 7, 2018, will be the 50th anniversary of the play’s opening on Broadway. She hoped that the society could do an anthology of essays commemorating the event much like the anthology Steve Marino edited in 1999, The Salesman Has a Birthday (University Press of America, 2000), for the anniversary of Death of a Salesman.
I can take on editing this project, and this is a preliminary call for papers. We do not yet have a publisher; I’ll try to get one in place in the next few months. Here is how I would like to proceed. If you are interested in contributing to this volume, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a brief statement of your topic. I’ll use these in creating a proposal for potential publishers. You will not need to begin writing your article until I have a publisher in place.
This is a rough preliminary schedule I hope we can work with. I doubt that we can have the book published by February 2018, the actual anniversary of The Price’s opening, but I think with luck we may have a shot at October 2018, to commemorate Arthur Miller’s birthday.
July 1, 2017 Commitment from a publisher
November 1, 2017 First-drafts of articles due
January 1, 2018 Final revised versions of articles due
January 15, 2018 Completed manuscript to publisher
October 2018 Anthology published
Hopefully the anthology will contain 8-12 original essays (roughly 4000 to no more than 8000 words each) and perhaps some key essays and performance reviews from the past if we can secure permissions.
Despite the fact that The Price is playing now on Broadway in a sensitive, excellently acted, and highly successful production by the Roundabout Theatre Company, the play is not as widely performed as Salesman, The Crucible, All My Sons, or A View from the Bridge. I’m sure that will make this anthology harder to place with a publisher than an anthology on one of these other plays. Nonetheless, The Price is among Miller’s most profound explorations of the ways we construct the stories that guide us through our lives, perhaps his central theme throughout his career. I’m hopeful we can find a significant publisher who will give the book the marketing and distribution support Miller deserves and serve the project well.
Please let me know your thoughts if you would like to contribute to this volume. David Palmer: email@example.com
5th International Conference on American Drama and Theater
“Migrations in American Drama and Theater”
Université de Lorraine (Nancy, France) 4 – 6 June 2018
Abstracts due 15 September 2017
Co-sponsored by the American Theater and Drama Society (ATDS) and working in partnership with the Spanish universities of Cádiz, Sevilla, and Madrid Autónoma, the research group I.D.E.A. (“Théories et pratiques de l’interdisciplinarité dans les études anglophones”) and the Université de Lorraine are announcing a call for papers for the conference “Migrations in American Drama and Theater” to be held in Nancy, France, from 4 to 6 June 2018.
This 5th International Conference on American Drama and Theater will be dedicated to the study of migrations, understood in a broad sense. The four previous conferences were held in Málaga, 2000; Málaga, 2004; Cádiz, 2009; and Sevilla, 2012; topics included violence, plays and players, politics, and the romance of the theater.
Confirmed keynote speakers include:
The impulse to cross geographical barriers and transgress boundaries, of whatever kind, traverses the history of mankind. Such processes often turn out traumatic and painful, however ultimately beneficial or rewarding. Motivations may be economic, political, or just sentimental. But fleeing the (literal or figurative) homeland (or, in today’s parlance, one’s comfort zone) in search of safety, a livelihood, happiness, novelty, change, self-realization or prosperity is bound, in most cases, to exert psychological pressure and involve a price. For the scholar, such processes whereby human communities or individuals are confronted by the new and the alien, often by the other in oneself, are fascinating to study and probe. Cross-hybridization between cultures and values has often resulted in new ways of looking at and making sense of reality. The friction and strife such processes bring with them are similarly pertinent areas of scholarly interest and inquiry.
Few countries have been more dependent upon migrations, understood in a broad sense, than the US. Not only is a great part of its population descended from migrants (all of it if we understand migrations in a wider sense, as native peoples have had to migrate not only geographically but culturally from ancient practices to largely alien notions of progress and modernity), but the country has been predicated upon geographical and social mobility, in itself a kind of migration. Debates on the advantages, if any, of migrations, as well as the alleged danger of disenfranchisement for the receiving population, the advisability of “contamination” by foreign values, or competition from abroad, are common. Obviously, there has never been a time in the history of the country where some kind of wall has not been deemed advisable, and not only the kind endorsed by the protagonists of The Fantasticks, a musical which became an icon of American theatrical culture precisely on account of its adamant refusal to the oft-suggested migration to Broadway.
Migration here is understood as a trope that implies change, translation, re-situation or re-location, adaptation, transferral, as well as the embracement of the new. When playwrights explore new themes, new theatrical styles or new dramatic voices, they become migrants, often encountering resistance and feeling unwelcome, which they brave in search of artistic fulfilment, new audiences, or merely profit. Without stylistic migrations, there would have been no evolution in the dramatic art: no Eugene O’Neill, no Susan Glaspell, no Thornton Wilder, no Living Theater, no Sam Shepard, no Broadway musicals. Even migrations across media (from film to stage or stage to film, from novel to play or play to musical) or from one country to another (European influences on American playwrights, the impact of US drama and theater abroad) are areas of research especially encouraged.
Other possible areas for research and reflection include (but are not limited to):
As we embrace a more international model for these conferences, and will hold the first of them outside of Spain, we are ourselves becoming migrants, and our destination, Nancy, is the perfect venue for such a conference. Nancy, with its various World Heritage sites, is at the heart of a historically disputed area in Europe, and has often migrated across countries and cultures. Ever since 1963, the Nancy festival has been not only in the avant-garde of theater festivals in Europe, but has welcomed groups and professionals from all countries to explore new territories, spearheading theatrical migrations, new languages, and all kinds of hybridities.
To submit either a paper, a roundtable discussion, or an already organized panel, please send abstracts of 300 words and a brief CV to Dr. Josefa Fernandez Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15 September 2017.
For updated information on the conference (travel, accommodation, participation fees, etc.), please visit https://idea-udl.org/migrations/.
Alfonso Ceballos Muñoz, Universidad de Cádiz
Ramón Espejo Romero, Universidad de Sevilla
Josefa Fernández Martin, Universidad de Sevilla
Noelia Hernando Real, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
John S. Bak, Université de Lorraine
Conferences and Panels:
(Link to AMS conference archive)
(Link to ALA archive)
Members, especially, please make every effort possible to attend any conference panels with papers on Miller and support the continuation of Arthur Miller scholarship.
The American Literature Association Annual Conference at Westin Copley Place, Boston, MA, May 25-28, 2017
The Arthur Miller Society will be offering two panels. For more information on ALA, check their website.
14 J: Saturday 27 May 8.10-9.30am
Panel one: Arthur Miller and Women
Chair: Jan Balakian, Kean University
This paper examines the role that the women have in Arthur Miller’s dramas, particularly how they fit into his definition of modern tragedy. Grounded in Miller’s assertion in “Tragedy and the Common Man” that characters act on what they consider an assault on their dignity, the discussion shows how many women in his plays are crucial in not only contributing to the male protagonists’ sense of dignity, but also affirming–if not bestowing–that dignity on them. The paper contributes to the debate about whether Miller’s female characters are stereotypical. It reconsiders the prevailing notion that Miller’s focus on the conflicts of men, particularly among fathers, sons, and brothers, relegates women to secondary roles the in the plays. It finally shows the power and influence of the female characters and the complicated intersection of masculine and feminine roles and identities within Miller’s definition of modern tragedy.
Most literary criticism on Arthur Miller’s drama has focused on its male characters—and for good reason: his plays have significantly more male characters than female, and nearly all of his plays revolve around the men. Those plays that arguably have a female protagonist or a more balanced cast between the genders focus on women mostly in traditional roles of wives and mothers, sisters and daughters, and mistresses. Amidst these roles is one that has received scant attention, either by Miller or scholars—the working woman.
The working women in Miller’s drama reflect both his concern with male characters and the changing roles of, and opportunities for, women in the twentieth century, over the sixty-eight years of which— if we include his plays through his last in 2004— Miller’s dramatic oeuvre spans. Women work outside of the home in twenty-two of his twenty-seven published plays. Most of the female characters do so as secretaries, wet nurses, and maids. Other women characters in his plays find themselves able to garner some financial support through “being kept,” ergo as prostitutes. Some are more fortunate as a nurse, teacher, or assistant, but still find themselves in somewhat subservient roles.
Some women in these three groups must work to survive. Other female characters are prevented from working by the men in their lives; a limitation that proves to thwart not only the women, but their marriages and husbands as well. A few of Miller’s female characters aim to work as singers, dancers or actresses. Finally, some women in Miller’s later plays gain more independence through jobs with increased responsibility and presumably better pay, reflecting women’s earlier frustrations, greater opportunities, and careers beyond the traditional and stereotypical; these include flight attendant, social worker, proprietress of a shop, designer, co-owner of an insurance company, soundwoman, and film director. An examination of the roles of the working women in Miller’s drama reveals their struggles and strengths to survive and assert themselves in a world dominated by men who struggle themselves to survive and succeed amidst its challenges.
As his first dramatic work with a female protagonist, Playing for Time represents an abrupt shift in Miller’s dramaturgy. Playing for Time concerns the real-life account of Holocaust survivor Fania Fénelon and is Miller’s television adaptation of her memoir of her Auschwitz experiences in 1942-1944. Miller sympathetically portrays Fénelon as a hero and a leader among the women in the death camp. Not willing to allow Fénelon’s engrossing story to speak for itself, Miller inserts his ever-present and decidedly patriarchal viewpoint into his narrative of her ordeal in such a way as to support his own interpretive stance of the Holocaust. Miller reworks Fénelon’s story to give his version of events authority over her interpretation of her own past. Consequently, Miller’s tale, involving as it does real-life persons, incidents, and locations, assumes the force of historical truth, even though it is not.
Broken Glass (1994) reflects Miller’s more ambiguous feelings regarding women and their role in shaping the outcome of their own lives. Miller denies Sylvia Gelberg the sanctification of self-identification and awareness that other male major characters enjoy. Sylvia does not serve her drama as a representation of the common man with common problems, but rather as an aberrant and highly sensitive individual whose hysterical paralysis is fueled in part by the treatment of Jews five thousand miles away. The play is not about Sylvia and her struggle for definition. It is not about how she is made to feel less human by the twenty-year impotency of her husband. It is also not about her cure. Rather, Broken Glass becomes a medical detective story in which Sylvia’s hysterical reaction reflects everyone else’s problems and responsibilities.
17 J: Saturday 27 May 12.40-2.00pm
Panel two: From Puritans to Vietnam: Comparative Studies of Power and Morality in Arthur Miller’s Plays
Chair: George Castellitto, Felician College
The Price was written in 1967 and first produced in 1968. When Miller was asked what his new play was about, he said, “Vietnam.” Much like Mailer’s Why Are We in Vietnam?, Miller’s play contains no mention of the war in Indochina, and so, clearly, Miller was speaking allusively. Miller’s play relies on his dominant narrative of two brothers, immersed in sibling rivalry, to dramatize the dialectical strife innate within competing tensions of the time between capitalism’s entitlement of the rugged individualist and democracy’s commitment to a common good. These are Miller’s “heterogeneous ideas” that constitute his working out of Dr. Johnson’s definition of paradoxical experience. Miller saw Vietnam as a catastrophic turning point in American history that left a nation so riven that it might never reestablish the delicate balance between hostile oppositions.
Miller’s play examines these two political forces that, in emergent times, appear impossibly conjoined. Republican self-advance and Democratic social service are the ideologies embodied in the two brothers, Victor and Franz, who no longer constitute one family, just as the Vietnam War threatened the notion of America as one nation. In the “Author’s Production Note,” Miller mapped out the dialectical structure of the play to show how he envisioned capitalism as a potentially self-consuming activity. To invest one must erase the past. Yet to have an ongoing national identity, a people must preserve their past. In a display of imaginative counterpoint, Miller depicts the strengths of each viewpoint while refraining from implied rhetorical preference for one viewpoint over the other. Miller writes, “As the world now operates, the qualities of both brothers are necessary to it” (117). This paper will consider how Miller’s perspective on two warring ideological positions achieves a hope that capitalism and democracy may be sustained and synthesized by looking toward the prophetic resilience of Gregory Solomon, who like his namesake, King Solomon, realizes that a baby, or a nation, cannot survive if humans refuse to sacrifice for each other.
It is hard to understand why two highly similar characters like Arthur Miller’s John Proctor in The Crucible and Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter have not been examined in a comparative light more often. Notwithstanding the similarities in social backdrop, their plight remains largely similar in the novel and play. Outsiders, outcasts, people who dare rise against the stifling mediocrity and conformism of Puritan culture, they nonetheless become in such act of defiance highly emblematic of American culture.
The paper will explore Hester and John’s struggle for self-expression through the appropriation of symbolic logos. While Hester is more the silent type than Proctor, what is at stake when it comes to their self-fashioning as tragic heroes is not so much their courage to speak up as their employment of a symbolic language. By using it, they assault the monopoly held by the New England authorities. My ultimate contention is that in both The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible what is at stake is conquering a symbolic, linguistic terrain, which those in power had taken upon themselves to police and survey. The battlefield in both works is largely linguistic, as the paper will seek to elucidate.
One of the most consistent thematic elements we find in Miller’s plays, from his early student writings to The American Clock, is his exploration of the love and rivalry to be found between brothers. Many have viewed this concern as being rooted in Miller’s personal feelings of both admiration and resentment toward his older brother Kermit. But while this may have allowed Miller to create his dramatic siblings with more authenticity, might not this fascination with loving brothers at odds have another, more literary source? And more than that, what if this book also contained many other seeds of Miller’s growing existential philosophy and literary tropes?
As one of the foremost figures in nineteenth century Russian literature, Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote a series of powerful novels that feature passionate characters, explosive situations, and a philosophical quest for spiritual understanding. Dostoyevsky was one of the first major authors to whom the young Miller was exposed, and he would later declare Dostoyevsky and fellow Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy, to be two of the greatest writers he knew. While still an impressionable teenager at high school, Miller had begun reading The Brothers Karamazov. He was enthralled by the power of Dostoyevsky’s writing, his concentration of detail, and his understanding of the complexity of human nature. As Paul Rosefeldt points out in his brief “Biography of Arthur Miller,” The Brothers Karamazov “features fraternal rivalry as well as the trial motif that Miller returned to as a controlling theme in his own writing” (8-9). Given the prevalence of brotherly conflicts in Miller’s works, it does seem likely that The Brothers Karamazov, published in 1880, a year before Dostoyevsky’s death, may have become an influential text. This essay will explore the possible influence of this novel’s depiction of brothers as well as other aspects of this lengthy work on Miller’s plays.
For over sixty years, productions of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible have provided an essential space for dissident voices, representations, and means of action for people throughout the world fighting against tyranny. In director Ivo van Hove’s 2016 production of The Crucible, he, as well, highlighted many of these important thematic components in Miller’s work, and it arrived, once again, at a crucial point in history when, in the post 9/11 climate and current U.S. election cycles, theocratic demagoguery and persecutions threatened the very foundation of democracy.
Ivo van Hove’s production also brought a new and important concept to Miller’s work. Time moved differently in this production, shifting constantly through the continuum, and commenting simultaneously on the past, present and foreboding future. Mr. van Hove, though, did not just bring The Crucible to the present for a history lesson, a contemporary parable or as a forewarning of unrestrained demagoguery (such as what many expect the Trump U.S. presidency will bring), he also brought his audiences back to historic Salem for a retrial. It was a retrial not just for the accused protagonist John Proctor, who was executed for witchcraft, but also for the judicial body, Judge Hathorne and Deputy Governor Danforth, as well as all those that believed in the witchery and necessity of the tribunals. Unlike Nathanial Hawthorne’s introductory note to The Scarlett Letter or past productions of The Crucible, Ivo Van Hove’s production suggested that the devil, indeed, was alive in Salem and, as a result, at least some of Salem’s characters have been judged too harshly and others, perhaps, not judged harshly enough.
There will also be an Arthur Miller Society Business Meeting: 18 O Saturday 27 May 2.10-3.30 pm.
Comparative Drama Conference at Rollins College in Orlando, FL April 5-8. Date and time of the panel TBA.
For more information on the CDC, check their website:
Arthur Miller: Engagement and Delusion in the American Dream
Organized by the Arthur Miller Society
Chair: David Palmer, Massachusetts Maritime Academy
1. “Consuming Marilyn,” Stefani Koorey, Independent Scholar.
Every person who has written about Marilyn Monroe, Arthur Miller notwithstanding, has presented us with a slightly (and sometimes dramatically) different person. While this statement might be made regarding all biographical subjects, in Monroe’s case it is doubly so. Monroe was mass mediated, an icon of sexuality that developed into a mythic-religious figure, especially after her problematic and untimely death. She has been variously remembered as super-star, serious actress, comedienne, dumb blond, unattainable sex object, victim, emasculator, frigid queen bitch, wife, prostitute, golden girl, feminist, communist, political pawn, and media manipulator. Monroe is a surface on which various identities and narratives may be modeled (See S. Paige Baty, American Monroe: The Making of a Body Politic. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).
Miller’s Monroe is no exception to this. Miller’s rememberings of her in his autobiography Timebends, A Life, his short story “Please Don’t Kill Anything,” and his movie script for The Misfits reproduce the “real” Monroe as a product of his own invention, partly authentic and partly fabricated: a subjective and emotional sketch by a man “passionately” involved in a highly destructive relationship with one of the most powerful icons of the American myth. Miller’s account of Monroe may reveal less about the actual woman than about Miller’s own fascination and struggles with both the enticing joys and torturous darkness of the American Dream.
2. “Radical Theatre: Arthur Miller’s Critique of the Reagan Era,” Thiago Russo, University of São Paulo, Brazil
This paper examines The Ride Down Mount Morgan, focusing on the differences between Miller’s first version of the play, written in 1991 and debuted in the U.K, and the official version, published in 1998 for American audiences. Mount Morgan is a farcical tragedy in which Miller masterfully depicts the Reagan era’s imperial self as a perversion of the American Dream in 1980s conservative America where delusions of self-importance, personal prosperity, and an excessive optimism blurred people’s perceptions of reality, a theme Miller returned to in his extended essay On Politics and the Art of Acting (2001).
The play can be taken as a depiction of what would have happened to Willy Loman had his much-desired vision of the American Dream come true. It shows how self-centered desire and an inflated self-image triumph over social responsibility and personal ethics. Using Lyman Felt’s self-serving delusions to depict the irresponsible folly of American culture in the late decades of the 20th century, Miller shows us how memory and fantasy are interwoven with denials of the past and delusions about the future to create the culture of Facebook and selfies we inhabit today where each of us is a star in his own movie and other people are at best supporting characters if not merely an audience. The Ride Down Mount Morgan is Miller’s depiction of the absurdity and moral emptiness of America’s love with individualism.
3. “Arthur Miller, Art, Politics, and the American Presidency,” Ann C. Hall, University of Louisville
A few short weeks following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Edward Albee delivered a speech which reassured audiences that art would help the world and America recover from the carnage. In his 2005 Nobel Prize speech, Harold Pinter pointedly defined artistic writing, writing that lent itself to multiple interpretations, against political writing, writing that spoke truth to power.
Often criticized for being polemical, pedantic, and prone to propaganda, Arthur Miller, too, links his work to political change. With Miller, however, there is a further complication or specification, the American Dream, that vision or illusion, “the largely unacknowledged screen in front of which all American writing plays itself out.” This paper will examine Miller’s artistic and political commentary on the American presidency in the light of the American Dream and in the light of recent political events in the United States. Can such artistic or political work make a difference? Is the dream too deep, too impenetrable? According to Miller, not only does art make a difference, writers and artists have an obligation—the artist “is one of the audience who happens to know how to speak.”
The Arthur Miller Centennial
October 16-18, 2015
Sponsored by the Arthur Miller Society at St. Francis College, Brooklyn, New York was a great success thanks to all those who attended. Congratulations to Stephen Marino and St. Francis College for hosting such a wonderful event. Cambridge University Press has commissioned a volume of essays from among the presentations given at the conference, and expect to see other papers printed in future editions of the Arthur Miller Journal.
|Outside the William Inge Theatre they have planted a tree for each past Honoree of the William Inge Festival Achievement Award who has passed on.||The tree they planted in Miller’s memory right outside the William Inge Theatre in
|Here is the plaque at the base of the tree; planted in 1995, the year Miller was so honored.|
Recent Publications on Miller (2005–current)