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"Broken Glass" By Arthur Miller

"Broken Glass"

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An Arthur Miller play set in Brooklyn in 1938. A woman is stricken by a paralysis in her legs. Her doctor finds that she is obsessed by the news from Germany that government thugs are smashing Jewish stores, and that this obsession is intertwined with her strange relationship with her husband.

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"Broken Glass" Summary

"Broken Glass" by Arthur Miller

'Broken Glass is a brave, bighearted attempt by one of the pathfinders of postwar drama to look at the tangle of evasions and hostilities by which the soul contrives to hide its emptiness from itself.' John Lahr (The New Yorker) Brooklyn, 1938: Sylvia Gellburg is stricken by a mysterious paralysis in her legs for which the doctor can find no cause. He soon realizes that she is obsessed by the devastating news from Germany, where government thugs have begun smashing Jewish stores. But this experience is intermeshed with what he learns is her strange relationship with her husband Philip. When the two seemingly unrelated situations concatenate, a tragic flare of light opens on the age. 'His strongest play for many years, a gripping and at times powerfully affecting drama. As almost always in his work, it balances private lives with public morality...It is also an amazingly full-blooded piece, bursting with pain and passion.' (Charles Spencer Daily Telegraph)

Customer Reviews - "Broken Glass"

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"Broken Glass" Reviews

'What a fascinating play this is.' Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard, 11.10.2010 'A late masterpiece from Arthur Miller, written in 1994 when he was 79, it takes two mighty strands, anti-Semitism and sexual neurosis, and weaves them into a beguiling, unsettling whole.' Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard, 11.10.2010 'Once the issue of the Gellburgs' (lack of) sexual relations is thrown in, Miller craftily sets us wondering which one of Phillip or Sylvia is actually the more disturbed.' Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard, 11.10.2010 'The"broken glass" of the title of Arthur Miller's 1994 play refers in part to the shattered window panes of Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany. But the title has other resonances, too. Glass, once splintered, cannot be put back together. Running through the play is the question of whether something badly broken can ever be repaired: a marriage, an identity, a country. Miller ties the personal and the political together, as a Jewish couple living in 1930s New York react to the increasingly virulent anti-Semitism in Germany in different ways.' Sarah Hemming, Financial Times, 09.10.10 'Miller mixes the personal with the political with incredible skill. He places ideas about identity, assimilation, self-hate and self-acceptance into a story that grips like a thriller.' Dominic Maxwell, The Times, 08.10.10 'Can a distant atrocity affect a person so much they become paralysed? Arthur Miller's 1994 psycho-sexual drama ponders this question as Sylvia, a middle-aged Jewish woman in 1930s Brooklyn, is stricken with paralysis just as Hitler's brownshirts are rampaging in Germany.' Claire Allfree, Metro (London), 12.10.10 'Miller wrote this lugubrious, complex play in 1994, but he remembered the inter-war years, and the casual references to American anti-Semitism are more shocking than Sylvia's wasted life or Philip's curdled feelings for his people.' Nina Caplan, Time Out (London), 14.10.10 'Arthur Miller's only full-length play to deal with his own and every other Jew's Jewishness' John Nathan, Jewish Chronicle, 15.10.10 'It's a simple tale of marital grief. An American Jewish woman [...], hearing of the Kristallnacht atrocities, has become paralysed from the waist down. The quest for a cure takes her and husband, Philip Gellberg, to the deepest and darkest vaults of their stagnant marriage. Gellberg is one of Miller's great creations. An ambitious and capable financier, he has vaulted Wall Street's invisible barriers of prejudice and become second-in-command at a venerable old bank. But he remains pathetically grateful to the anti-Semites who employ him. He boasts, with genuine pride, that he's the first Jew to set foot on his boss's yacht. Yet he hates himself. He loathes his Semitic face and the suspicion it arouses among his colleagues.' Lloyd Evans, Spectator, 16.10.10 'its ambiguities are haunting' Jane Edwards, Sunday Times, 17.10.10 'The lesson the couple learns, though tragically too late, is to rise above incapacitating fear and guilt.' Kate Bassett, Independent on Sunday, 17.10.10

Additional information

"Broken Glass" by Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller
Modern Classics
Used - Very Good
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.