Siege of the Arts: Collected Writings, 1994-2001

Overview

Mr. Brustein turns his witty, penetrating, and sometimes scathing gaze on the various scourges afflicting high art in America, from the Supreme Court's endorsement of NEA content restrictions, through the breakdown of taste and standards as a consequence of political correctness, to the failure of arts education and the exaltation of amateurism. Mr. Brustein also celebrates the best that is being thought and written in America, analyzing the major theatrical achievements of the ...
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Overview

Mr. Brustein turns his witty, penetrating, and sometimes scathing gaze on the various scourges afflicting high art in America, from the Supreme Court's endorsement of NEA content restrictions, through the breakdown of taste and standards as a consequence of political correctness, to the failure of arts education and the exaltation of amateurism. Mr. Brustein also celebrates the best that is being thought and written in America, analyzing the major theatrical achievements of the decade.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Philadelphia Inquirer
Brustein upholds the tradition of incisive theater criticism as essential to a serious culture.
— Carlin Romano
Booklist
Well worth reading again and again...articulate and fierce.
— Jack Helbig
New York Times
Generous, witty, courageous.
American Theatre
Piercing, devastating, and passionate...The sheer pleasure of Brustein's wit is not to be missed.
— James Reston, Jr., American Theatre
New York Times Book Review
Robert Brustein is an elegant and eloquent voice in the wilderness of contemporary American culture.
— Lippincott, Robin
The New York Times
Generous, witty, courageous.
Pauline Kael
His directness clears the air. His intelligence shines.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Carlin Romano
Brustein upholds the tradition of incisive theater criticism as essential to a serious culture.
Booklist - Jack Helbig
Well worth reading again and again...articulate and fierce.
David Mamet
Mr. Brustein's voice is like water in the desert: he is harsh, and funny, and insightful, and most important, fearless.
American Theatre - James Reston
Piercing, devastating, and passionate...The sheer pleasure of Brustein's wit is not to be missed.
The New York Times - Robin Lippincott
Robert Brustein is an elegant and eloquent voice in the wilderness of contemporary American culture.
American Theatre - James Reston Jr.
Piercing, devastating, and passionate...The sheer pleasure of Brustein's wit is not to be missed.
Jack Helbig
Well worth reading again and again...articulate and fierce.
Booklist
Robin Lippincott
Robert Brustein is an elegant and eloquent voice in the wilderness of contemporary American culture.
New York Times Book Review
New York Times
Generous, witty, courageous.
American Theatre
Piercing, devastating, and passionate.
Carlin Romano
Brustein upholds the tradition of incisive theater criticism as essential to a serious culture.
Philadelphia Inquirer
Library Journal
Playwright and director Brustein (Cultural Calisthenics), a doyen of American theater for the past 35 years at Yale and Harvard, is also the theater critic of the New Republic, where most of these nearly 50 short essays initially appeared. In the first section, "Positions and Polemics," Brustein laments the lack of thoughtful and imaginative work on America's stages and revisits reasons why serious arts are a hard sell in this country, identifying moral, political, and aesthetic correctness as the "three horsemen of the anti-culture." He is particularly frustrated by and scornful of popular theater and the NEA. A more heartening piece is "A Memory of Libraries." The second and longest section, "Plays and Performances," critiques individual productions, while the third, "People and Places," takes on dramatists and theater venues. Informed, insightful, and at times provocative, this compilation is highly recommended for general and performing arts collections. Russell T. Clement, Northwestern Univ. Lib., Evanston, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
A collection of essays and theatre reviews that were, for the most part, first published in . While the bulk of the material is devoted to the reviews of plays, a number of essays look at such issues as the National Endowment for the Arts funding for controversial art, the "politically-correct" atmosphere on college campuses, the lack of music education in American education, the contribution of Jews to the theatre, threats to the future of the theatre, and the societal role of the theatre critic. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566633802
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Three Horsemen of the Anti-Culture
I Positions and Polemics
The Government versus the Arts 5
The Philosophy of the Faculty 14
The Arts at Harvard 21
Jews and the American Theatre 31
A Memory of Libraries 37
Taking the "A" Out of NEA 43
Millennial Blues 49
Himalaya Criticism 53
II Plays and Performances
Popular Elitism: Arcadia 67
Homogenized Diversity: A Doll's House: How I Learned to Drive; Gross Indecency 71
Ivanov Revisited: Ivanov 76
McNally on the Cross: Corpus Christi 80
Pastoral Shakespeare: Twelfth Night; Cymbeline; As You Like it 84
A Season of Parch: Electra; Parade; The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told; Side Man 91
Two Moral X-Rays: Closer; This Is Our Youth 97
Ways to Break the Silence: Villa Villa; Wit 102
Theatre Artifacts: Death of a Salesman; Not About Nightingales 108
Spring Roundup: The Iceman Cometh; Via Dolorosa; The Weir; The Lonesome West 114
The Season of the Play: The Tonys; Goodnight Children Everywhere; Gertrude and Alice 119
Musicals and Musicales: The Dead; India Ink 123
Revisioning Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire; Camino Real 128
Plays Fat and Thin: A Moon for the Misbegotten; American Buffalo, Dinner with Friends 133
Women of the Theatre: The Cherry Orchard; The Green Bird 140
Ascents and Dissents: Wrong Mountain; Dirty Blonde 144
The Staged Documentary: The Laramie Project 149
Tell Me Where Is Fancy Bred: Proof; The Syringa Tree; Texts for Nothing 153
Deconstructing Susan: Alice in Bed; Requiem for Srebrenica 159
Dreaming a Dream Play: A Dream Play 163
The Play About the Play: The Play About the Baby 168
III People and Places
A Little Touch of Harry 175
David Mamet at Fifty 177
The Las Vegas Show 183
Stephen Sondheim's Progress 188
Samuel Beckett and Alan Schneider 194
Poker Face 200
Edward Albee's Identity 205
The Fete des Vignerons at Vevey 211
An Oscar for Clinton 215
A Berlin Diary 219
Stella Adler at the Lectem 224
The Juvenescent Arthur Miller 229
Moscow Nights 231
Ms. Smith Goes to Washington 236
The Cape Town Races 242
Chekhov on Ice 247
Index 255
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