Three Plays: The Political Theater of Howard Zinn: Emma/Marx in Soho/Daughter of Venus

Overview

World-renowned historian Howard Zinn has turned to drama to explore the legacy of Karl Marx and Emma Goldman and to delve into the intricacies of political and social conscience perhaps more deeply than traditional history permits. Three Plays brings together all this work, including the previously unpublished Daughter of Venus, along with a new introductory essay on political theater, and prefaces to each of the plays.
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Three Plays: The Political Theater of Howard Zinn: Emma, Marx in Soho, Daughter of Venus

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Overview

World-renowned historian Howard Zinn has turned to drama to explore the legacy of Karl Marx and Emma Goldman and to delve into the intricacies of political and social conscience perhaps more deeply than traditional history permits. Three Plays brings together all this work, including the previously unpublished Daughter of Venus, along with a new introductory essay on political theater, and prefaces to each of the plays.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The first act of 'Emma,' Howard Zinn's play about Emma Goldman, is a small miracle. Here is a drama that holds down the heroics, polemics and didacticism to which works about heroes and heroines are prone. True, Emma is idealized; she is loving, honest, selfless, daring, but she is also human and believable.—Walter Goodman, New York Times

"[Marx in Soho is] an imaginative critique of our society's hypocrisies and injustices, and an entertaining, vivid portrait of Karl Marx as a voice of humanitarian justice - which is perhaps the best way to remember him."—Kirkus Reviews

"[Daughter of Venus's] central concerns - personal and social ethics; the balance of obligations to ourselves, our families, and our fellow citizens; the uses and abuses of political and scientific power - remain as timely as ever. . . . Zinn not only displays a fluid and passionately committed style but also is attempting to do something interesting with it: to interweave a story of familial tensions and national politics, and in doing so to remind us that the way we live our lives on the small, local, day-to-day scale of family life can have repercussions and implications for the life of the nation at large."—Louise Kennedy, Boston Globe

Library Journal
Zinn's A People's History of the United States is both in the college canon and wadding for the cannons of conservatives. This volume brings his political philosophies to the stage, with mixed success. Zinn writes in the introduction that plays allow him to "zoom in on a few characters" so the audience can identify with them. He succeeds best with this in Marx in Soho: A Play on History, a one-person show in which Karl Marx talks about his family and his life with humor, sympathy, and love. It's also an easily digestible treatise on Marxist and communist philosophy. Emma, about American anarchist Emma Goldman, is preachy but entertaining and can be performed with a bare minimum of scenery and props. In Daughter of Venus, featuring a nuclear scientist who ends up questioning his involvement in weapons development, the characters spend a lot of time shouting at or speaking poorly about one another, and the ending is all too predictable. VERDICT This collection will be of interest to college and university theater, history, and politics students, but it is not a priority purchase for campus libraries.—Larry Schwartz, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Moorhead
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807073261
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,054,932
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Howard Zinn (1922–2010) was a world-renowned historian, author, playwright, and social activist best known forA People's History of the United States. His many highly acclaimed books include You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train and Three Strikes.
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