Arthur Miller
Lecture Date: 5-2-1989
Click the link below to listen ot his celebrity's lecture:
Interview: In this clip, dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University, John Eadie and professor of English, Robert Martin, introduce playwright Arthur Miller. Martin recounts the numerous challenges Miller encountered as an aspiring author and playwright. Arthur Miller commences his lecture by announcing his intent to read from his various works. He begins to read from his recent work entitled Bees while being sure to point out the serious point behind the humor of this short story: “there are certain things that go on forever, with or without us.” Miller moves on to read selections from his autobiography Timebends (1987). The first section begins by describing his mother, father, and the other aspects of their background. Miller explains the title of the book by saying that “time is not continuous in the chronological sense; we remember, basically, themes that connect one event to another rather than dates and … the flow of years.” In another section, Miller reminisces about the idea behind and production of his play The Price (1967). The playwright describes the acquisition of the table (that was on stage during the premier of his play) from his elderly aunt. Miller then describes his inspiration for Death of a Salesman (1949), namely, his uncle who inspired the character and the encounter that helped Miller conceive the premise for how the play was written. The playwright reads his writing on various occurrences during the production ofDeath of a Salesmanand his presidency at International Pen (an organization designed to protect writers from prosecution). Miller’s final passages of Timebends illustrate, with the typical Miller blend of humor and sincerity, the connection that exists between everyone. In response to a question from the audience he explains how the crimes of history shape and "twist" our lives today. He also speaks about the trouble of determining the definition of reality. Another topic addressed by Miller is the challenges that face young authors today. Arthur Miller wraps up audience questions by talking about the different portrayals of Willie Lowman, the main character from his play Death of a Salesman.
Biography: Arthur Miller (1915- ) is an acclaimed American playwright whose works confront moral and political issues and describe the pressures society puts on people. Aside from his marriage to Marilyn Monroe, Miller is probably best known for his 1949 masterpiece, Death of a Salesman. Miller’s other works include well-known plays such as The Crucible (1953) and A View from the Bridge (1955), the novel, Focus (1945), and the screenplay, The Misfits (1961). Miller’s works have earned him numerous awards, including the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Tony Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.