Wit

Wit

4.3 7
by Margaret Edson
     
 

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In this extraordinary first play, which will move to Broadway in the winter of 1999, Margaret Edson has created a work that is as intellectually challenging as it is emotionally immediate. At the start of Wit, Vivian Bearing, Ph.D., a renowned professor of English who has spent years studying and teaching the brilliantly difficult metaphysical sonnets of John…  See more details below

Overview

In this extraordinary first play, which will move to Broadway in the winter of 1999, Margaret Edson has created a work that is as intellectually challenging as it is emotionally immediate. At the start of Wit, Vivian Bearing, Ph.D., a renowned professor of English who has spent years studying and teaching the brilliantly difficult metaphysical sonnets of John Donne, has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. Her approach to her illness is not unlike her approach to the study of Donne: aggressively probing, intensely rational, deeply witty. But during the course of her illness—and her stint as a prize patient in an experimental chemotherapy program at a major teaching hospital—Vivian comes to reassess her life and her work with a profundity and humor that are transformative both for her and for the audience.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Among the finest plays of the decade . . . An original and urgent work of art.” —David Lyons, The Wall Street Journal

“A dazzling and humane play you will remember till your dying day.” —John Simon, New York magazine

“[A] brutally human and beautifully layered new play . . . You will feel both enlightened and, in a strange way, enormously comforted.” —Peter Marks, The New York Times

“A one-of-a-kind experience: wise, thoughtful, witty and wrenching.” —Vincent Canby, The New York Times Year in Review

“A thrilling, exciting evening in the theater . . . [Wit is] an extraordinary and most moving play.” —Clive Barnes, New York Post

“Wit is exquisite . . . an exhilarating and harrowing 90-minute revelation.
” —Linda Winer, Newsday

“Edson writes superbly . . . [A] moving, enthralling and challenging experience that reminds you what theater is for.” —Fintan O'Toole, New York Daily News

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781854594587
Publisher:
Consortium Book Sales & Dist
Publication date:
05/01/1999
Pages:
56

Read an Excerpt

The questions, discussion topics, and suggested reading list that follow are intended to enhance your group’s enjoyment of Margaret Edson’s powerfully imagined Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Wit. We hope they will provide you with many interesting angles from which to approach this remarkable play, a work which beautifully illuminates the gifts-love, friendship, kindness-that make life truly worth living, through its probing and frequently poetic examination of one of humanity’s universal and defining experiences: death.

Vivian Bearing, a renowned professor of literature who has spent years studying and teaching the famously intricate Holy Sonnets of the seventeenth-century poet John Donne, is diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Confident of her ability to stay in control of events, she brings to her illness the same approach-intensely rational and painstakingly methodical-that has guided her stellar academic career. But as her disease and its painful treatment inexorably progress, she begins to question the single-minded values that have always guided her and, in the process, learns lessons that are both challenging and redemptive. In Wit, we are confronted with timeless questions: How should we live our lives knowing that we will die? Are our relationships with others more important than material, professional, or intellectual achievement? What, if any, are the roles of science and art in reconciling us to our mortality? With an unforgettable combination of elegant phrasing and emotional power, Wit compels us to reassess our own lives, just as Vivian Bearing must do.

Meet the Author

Margaret Edson was born in Washington, D.C. in 1961. She has degrees in history and literature. She wrote Wit in 1991, after a period spent working as a clerk in the oncology/AIDS department of a Washington hospital in 1985. Edson now lives in Atlanta, where she teaches kindergarten.

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Wit 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw Wit performed at the Pittsburgh Public Theater and it was fabulous! The acting, the jokes, the story line, the set, the lighting, everything was great!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The play is amazing considering this is her first. The author's one very talented wordsmith. I read it in one go since I couldn't get myself to put it down. The conversations are warm, intelligent and sad by turns - all I can really say is that I'm glad some people have the talent to pen such amazing works of art. (I read the play in the store, but couldn't get myself to leave it behind: I ended up buying a copy.)