Nationality: American. Born: New York, 17 October 1915. Education: University of Michigan, A.B. 1938. Family: Married 1) Mary Grace Slattery in 1940 (divorced 1956), one daughter and one son; 2) Marilyn Monroe in 1956 (divorced 1961); 3) Ingeborg Morath in 1962, one daughter and one son. Career: Since 1938 writer, and since 1944 dramatist and essayist. Associate, Federal Theater Project, 1938; writer of radio plays, 1939-44. Contributor to periodicals, including Esquire, Atlantic, New York Times, and Theatre Arts. Also worked in an automobile parts warehouse, at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, and in a box factory. Resident lecturer, University of Michigan, 1973-74. Awards: Avery Hopwood awards, University of Michigan, 1936, for Honors at Dawn, and 1937, for No Villain: They Too Arise; Bureau of New Plays prize, Theatre Guild of New York, 1938; Theatre Guild National prize, 1944, for The Man Who Had All the Luck; Drama Critics Circle awards, 1947, for All My Sons, and 1949, for Death of a Salesman; Antoinette Perry awards, 1947, for All My Sons, 1949, for Death of a Salesman, and 1953, for The Crucible; Donaldson awards, 1947, for All My Sons, 1949, for Death of a Salesman, and 1953, for The Crucible; Pulitzer prize for drama, 1949, for Death of a Salesman; National Association of Independent Schools award, 1954; Obie award, Village Voice, 1958, for The Crucible; American Academy of Arts and Letters gold medal, 1959; Anglo-American award, 1966; Emmy award, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 1967, for Death of a Salesman; Brandeis University creative arts award, 1969; George Foster Peabody award, 1981, for Playing for Time; John F. Kennedy award for lifetime achievement, 1984; Algur Meadows award, 1991; medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, National Book Foundation, 2001. L.H.D.: University of Michigan, 1956, and Carnegie-Mellon University, 1970. Member: Dramatists' Guild; Authors League of America; National Institute of Arts and Letters. Agent: c/o International Creative Management, 40 West 57th Street, New York, New York 10019, U.S.A.
Arthur Miller's Collected Plays (includes All My Sons ; Death of a Salesman ; The Crucible ; A Memory of Two Mondays ; A View from the Bridge ). 1957.
Collected Plays. 1980.
The Portable Arthur Miller, edited by C. Bigsby. 1995.
Honors at Dawn (produced Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1936).
No Villian: They Too Arise (produced Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1937).
The Man Who Had All the Luck (produced New York, 1944).
All My Sons (produced New York, 1947). 1947.
Death of a Salesman (produced New York, 1949). 1949; as Death of a Salesman: Text and Criticism, 1977.
An Enemy of the People, adaptation of the novel by Henrik Ibsen (produced New York, 1950). 1951.
The Crucible (produced New York, 1953). 1953; as The Crucible: Text and Criticism, 1977; as The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts, 1995.
A View from the Bridge (produced with A Memory of Two Mondays, New York, 1955), with A Memory of Two Mondays. 1955; published separately, 1956; revised version (produced New York, 1965), 1956.
A Memory of Two Mondays (produced with A View from the Bridge, New York, 1955), with A View from the Bridge. 1955; published separately, 1956.
After the Fall (produced New York, 1964). 1964.
Incident at Vichy (produced New York, 1964). 1965.
The Price (produced New York, 1968). 1968.
The Creation of the World and Other Business (produced New York, 1972). 1972.
Up from Paradise, musical version of The Creation of the World and Other Business, music by Stanley Silverman (produced Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1974; New York, 1983). 1978.
The Archbishop's Ceiling (produced Washington, D.C., 1977). 1976.
The American Clock (produced Charleston, South Carolina, 1980; New York, 1980). 1980.
Elegy for a Lady [and] Some Kind of Love Story (produced as Two-Way Mirror, New Haven, Connecticut, 1983). Published separately, 1984.
Playing for Time, stage adaption of his screenplay (produced England, 1986). 1985.
Danger: Memory! Two Plays: "I Can't Remember Anything" and "Clara" (produced New York, 1987). 1987.
The Golden Years. 1990.
The Last Yankee. 1991.
The Ride Down Mt. Morgan. 1992.
Broken Glass. 1994.
The Crucible: Screenplay. 1996.
The Story of G.I. Joe, with others, 1945; The Crucible, 1958; The Misfits, 1960; The Price, 1969; The Hook, 1975; Playing for Time, 1980; Everybody Wins, 1990.
The Misfits (novella). 1961; with additional selections as "The Misfits" and Other Stories, 1987.
Jane's Blanket (for children). 1963.
Homely Girl, A Life. 1992; as Plain Girl: A Life, 1995.
I Don't Need You Anymore. 1967.
"The Misfits" and Other Stories. 1987.
Situation Normal (reportage on the army). 1944.
In Russia, with photographs by Inge Morath. 1969.
In the Country, with photographs by Morath. 1977.
The Theatre Essays of Arthur Miller, edited by Robert A. Martin. 1978; revised edition, 1996.
Chinese Encounters, with photographs by Morath. 1979.
Salesman in Beijing, with photographs by Morath. 1984.
Timebends: A Life (autobiography). 1987.
Inge Morath: Portraits, with others. 1999.
Mr. Peters' Connections. 1999.
Echoes Down the Corridor: Collected Essays, 1947-1999, edited by S. Centola. 2000.*
All My Sons, 1948, 1987; Death of a Salesman, 1951, 1985; The Crucible (also known as The Witches of Salem ), 1958, 1996; A View from the Bridge, 1962; The Price, 1969; After the Fall, 1969; Playing for Time, 1980; Focus, 2001.
Arthur Miller: Dramatist by Edward Murray, 1967; Arthur Miller: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Robert W. Corrigan, 1969; Psychology and Arthur Miller by Richard Evans, 1969; Arthur Miller: Portrait of a Playwright by Benjamin Nelson, 1970; Arthur Miller by S. K. Bhatia, 1985; Conversations with Arthur Miller, edited by Matthew Charles Roudane, 1987; Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman" and Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," both by Harold Bloom, both 1996; Arthur Miller by Neil Carson, 1982; Arthur Miller in Conversation by Steve Centola, 1993; The Achievement of Arthur Miller: New Essays, edited by Steve Centola, 1995; Understanding Arthur Miller by Alice Griffin, 1996.* * *
Arthur Miller, the dean of American playwrights, was born 17 October 1915 in New York City. He grew up in Harlem and Brooklyn, a product of the Great Depression in America and of World War II, and was hailed as one of the century's greatest playwrights when Death of a Salesman triumphantly premiered on Broadway in 1949. Miller critically and artistically has from the beginning of his career been linked to the works of Henrik Ibsen. Like Ibsen, Miller has long been obsessed with the notion of individual and collective guilt, of the relationship of the individual to society, and of the necessity of moral action, even at the cost of one's physical destruction.
While all his plays question public and private guilt and innocence, Miller only directly addresses the Holocaust in four works, from his middle and late periods. In the earliest of these, his autobiographical play After the Fall, the watchtower of a concentration camp hovers over the entire action of the play, a looming shadow over the life and consciousness of the protagonist Quentin that cannot be dismissed. Following such earlier plays as All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible, where people were asked, ordered, pressured, and even threatened by their community's social structures to deny, repudiate, or corrupt their individual identities and their moral sense, this looming shadow metaphorically creates an even greater resonance, especially as Miller has frequently been critically attacked for seeming to forsake his Jewish identity in his earlier plays.
Incident at Vichy, re-creating the southern French community that shamefully rounded up its Jewish population in willful collaboration with its German occupiers, presents a panoply of Jewish characters robbed of any agency or voice, desperately seeking any answers or repudiation of the inescapable yet unbelievable horrors that await them. Playing for Time, a critically acclaimed television adaptation of the memoirs of survivor Fania Fenelon , plunges the viewer into the physical and moral abyss of the camps. Here Miller acknowledges that survival was accomplished less by one's character than by chance and that, without a voice or an ability to affect an action, the moral obligation comes from the act of remembering the past. His last Holocaust play, Broken Glass, though generally well received, is a less successful and frankly problematic play about a middle-aged Jewish-American woman's obsession in 1938 with the virulent anti-Semitism sweeping Germany, an obsession that culminates in her becoming physically paralyzed by the news. As in such early plays as Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, here the issue surrounds the denial of identity, specifically that of her husband's Jewishness as a successful executive in a WASP Wall Street firm. Here the obviousness of Sylvia's symbolic paralysis detracts from rather than illuminates the drama Miller has constructed as Sylvia ultimately overcomes her paralysis as her husband approaches his own death. Yet seriously flawed as Broken Glass may be, Miller's consistent and passionate advocacy for the individual's need and responsibility to connect and to remain connected to the world remains bracingly intact.
Miller's troubled and troubling examinations of mid to late twentieth-century American life and its responses to the Holocaust have brought up and continue to engage with many of the issues that we are grappling with in the early years of the new millennium. If the Holocaust has forever cast humanity as either victims, perpetrators, or bystanders, then Miller's concentration on them and how they respond to the central moral issues of our day becomes essential reading and performing.
—Steven Dedalus Burch
See the essay on Incident at Vichy.
MILLER, ARTHUR (1915–2005), U.S. playwright. In his work, Miller wrestled with the primal issues of modern society. Because he came of age in New York City during the Great Depression, he embraced the themes of personal integrity and social responsibility, themes writ large in his immediate surroundings and his own family. Relationships, typically between one and one's family and society, were at the heart of nearly all his work. Theater director Robert Whitehead has been quoted as saying Miller had a "rabbinical righteousness," that his plays "sought to be a light unto the world." For Miller, theater was not mere entertainment, but an opportunity for consciousness raising, to change or broaden the minds of the audience. Writing and producing plays was a politically engaging experience for him. However, while he acknowledged that a given work might reflect a creator's political and social ideology, he rejected the notion that a play could encapsulate one's entire philosophy. He felt that real life was far too complex to be fully explained in a work of art or in a political methodology. He repeatedly tried to illustrate this ultimately unknowable complexity in his work. Very often the motivations of his characters are vague and mysterious. He offered no succinct answers to the problems he presented; indeed he may have believed there were none.
He acquired an international reputation after World War ii, following the publication of two plays and of Focus (1945), a novel about antisemitism. In it, a pair of glasses allows a man to see better as it encourages others to see him differently. A meek gentile, who, as part of his job, identifies Jewish job applicants, is mistaken to be Jewish when he begins wearing a pair of glasses. He loses his job and can only find employment in the office of Jewish businessmen. He passively participates in the antisemitism in his initial job, in his neighborhood, where hatred of Jews reaches a virulent level, and at home. Ultimately he redeems himself by trying to stop vandals from destroying the store of a Jewish shopkeeper.
The play All My Sons (1947) revealed his ability to portray characters involved in emotional conflicts. It is a realistic play, intended for the general public. The dialogue is of common speech. The plot involves an overwhelming crisis growing out of smaller crises. The play has symbolic overtones despite the realistic characters and plot, which combine to help Miller focus on his themes of mutual responsibility and survivor guilt.
His reputation was really established with Death of a Salesman (1949), which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The play, later made into a motion picture, owed its success to the delineation of Willy Loman, the unsuccessful traveling salesman, and was regarded as an indictment of the false sense of values of American life. Miller has stated his initial idea for the play came from one notion: that the main character would kill himself. Loman's is a realistic portrayal of decline, of never quite giving up on the American dream, despite all evidence to the contrary. His sacrifice is a hopeless attempt to preserve some personal dignity and to help his family. The audience is never told if the insurance from his death properly provides for his family, but there are hints in the play that his death is in vain, that his plan does not work. Because of his drastic and self-destructive behavior for what may be an ideological misconception, Willy Loman is one of the great tragic characters of American drama.
In 1951, engaged by the problem of freedom of speech, Miller wrote an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, and in 1953, in his own play The Crucible, he turned to the Salem witch trials of 1692, and spoke for freedom of conscience during the period of Senator McCarthy's anti-communist campaign. Miller hoped the play "would be seen as an affirmation of the struggle for liberty, for keeping one's own conscience." John Proctor is a strong protagonist, flawed, but with no misplaced idealism. With Proctor at the center, Miller plays with the theme of retaining one's sense of morality in the face of public pressure. The witch-hunt mentality (reminiscent of the antisemitic hysteria in Focus) has both rational and irrational origins: some, like those causing the fuss, are conscious of the social and economic power it brings, while others are merely swept up in the supernatural paranoia. Miller adeptly portrays the act of ruination by accusation. When one character is accused of witchcraft, he has two choices: to confess and lose his land, or deny and lose his land. When he remains silent, even to his death, his land at least stays with his family. During the political climate of the McCarthy Red Scare, this proved to be a profoundly important lesson in social and individual responsibility. In an odd case of life imitating art, Miller played Proctor for real. Summoned before McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee, Miller was asked about Communist meetings he had attended. He did not refuse to answer, telling the committee everything they wanted to know about him, while denying he was a Communist. But he stopped short of implicating others. As Proctor refused to speak about people already known to his questioners, so did Miller. He was found guilty of contempt of court, but that charge was later reversed. This play was screened as the Witches of Salem (1957).
A View from the Bridge (1955) again won a Pulitzer Prize. It showed Miller still striving for significant realistic drama and imaginative dramatic form. In the play he continued his practice of trying to mythologize the ordinary and everyday. Falling short of being entirely uplifting, the play has a positive message: that life goes on despite any tragedy.
The film script The Misfits (1961), written after his marriage to the screen star Marilyn Monroe, and acted in by her and Clark Gable, was an unusually sensitive, though commercially unsuccessful, study of loneliness and divorce.
Miller returned to the theater with an autobiographical drama, After the Fall (1964), based largely on his life with Marilyn Monroe, whom he had divorced in 1962, and relating his own conflicts in love and friendship to the state of the world. This expressionistic drama concerns the various crises of Quentin, one of which is his sense of guilt at not experiencing the Nazi death camps. His proximity to Holga, a woman who has escaped Auschwitz, exacerbates this feeling in him. He laments his inability to atone for what he feels are sins, because they are sins of omission, that is, he is guilty, not for things he has done, but for things he has not done.
Incident at Vichy (1965) deals with the arrest of a number of Frenchmen, including some Jews, during the Nazi occupation. Each prisoner separates himself from the others while trying to understand why the Nazis want to destroy them. The gypsy, the Communist, the Catholic, and the Jew are unable to come together even as fellow prisoners, even in their hatred of the Nazis. There is no sense of union, that each is responsible for the others. One Nazi officer is shown having feelings of guilt, but he ultimately does nothing about it. Miller stresses that guilt is not enough, that action is necessary. To deny one's connection to humanity is to deny one's own humanity.
The Price (1968), depicting a dramatic conflict between two brothers, had as a central character an old Jew who acted as a wise commentator.
Miller stated his intention as a dramatist as being to "bring to the stage the thickness, awareness, and complexity of the novel." He endeavored to give postwar American drama depth of purpose and content, and a sense of tragic conflict in terms of contemporary American life. Widely regarded in the 1950s as America's leading dramatist, his reputation faded somewhat in the 1960s as realistic drama itself passed out of critical fashion. The 1980s, however, saw a return to appreciation of Miller's contribution to 20th-century theater. Other plays include The American Clock (1983), The Archbishop's Ceiling (1984), Danger: Memory (1986), Two-Way Mirror (1989), The Ride Down Mount Morgan (1991), The Last Yankee (1991), and Broken Glass (1994). For the collected edition of his plays published in 1958, he wrote a 50-page introduction, which clarified his purpose and explained his methods of work. Translated into many languages, the plays were internationally popular. Miller was elected president of the International pen Club in 1965, in which position he strove vigorously to organize protests against literary censorship and repression all over the world.
D. Welland, Arthur Miller (1961); B. Nelson, Arthur Miller (1970); L. Moss, Arthur Miller (1967); S. Huftel, Arthur Miller, The Burning Glass (1965); R. Hogen, Arthur Miller (University of Minnesota Pamphlets on American Writers, no. 40, 1964); J. Gassner, Theater at the Crossroads (1960); Contemporary Authors, first rev. (1967), incl. bibl. add. bibliography: M. Gottfried, Arthur Miller: His Life and Work (2003); A. Miller, Timebends: A Life (1987); H. Bloom (ed. & intro.), Arthur Miller (2003); E. Brater (ed.), Arthur Miller's America: Theater & Culture in a Time of Change (2005); C.W.E. Bigsby, Arthur Miller: A Critical Study (2005); M. Berger, "Arthur Miller, Moral Voice of American Stage, Dies at 89," in: New York Times (Feb. 12, 2005), a1, a14.
[Joseph Mersand and
Jonathan Licht /
Robert L. DelBane (2nd ed.)]
Best known for his play Death of a Salesman, American playwright, novelist, and screenwriter Arthur Miller is considered one of the major dramatists of twentieth-century American theater.
Arthur Miller was born on October 17, 1915, in New York City, the second of Isidore and Augusta Barnett Miller's three children. His father had come to the United States from Austria-Hungary and ran a small coat-manufacturing business. His mother, a native of New York, had been a public school teacher. Miller was only an average student. He was much more fond of playing sports than doing his schoolwork. Only after graduating from high school in 1932 did Miller think about becoming a writer, when he read Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky's (1821–1881) The Brothers Karamazov. Miller attended City College in New York for two weeks, then worked briefly with his father and in an autoparts warehouse to earn money to attend the University of Michigan. He enrolled there two years later, continuing to work as a dishwasher and as a night editor at a newspaper to help pay his expenses while he studied drama. He graduated in 1938, having won several awards for playwriting.
Miller returned to New York City to a variety of jobs, including writing for the Federal Theater Project, a government-sponsored program that ended before any of his work could be produced. Because of an old football injury, he was rejected for military service, but he was hired to tour army camps to collect material for a movie, The Story of G. I. Joe. His notes from these tours were published as Situation Normal (1944). That same year the Broadway production of his play The Man Who Had All the Luck opened, closing after four performances. In 1945 his novel Focus, an attack on anti-Semitism (the hatred of Jewish people), appeared.
Three successful plays
Miller's career blossomed with the opening of All My Sons on Broadway in 1947. The play, a tragedy (a drama having a sad conclusion), won three prizes and fascinated audiences across the country. Then Death of a Salesman (1949) brought Miller the Pulitzer Prize for drama, international fame, and an estimated income of two million dollars. The words of its hero, Willy Loman, have been heard in at least seventeen languages as well as on movie screens everywhere.
By the time of Miller's third Broadway play, The Crucible (1953), audiences were ready to accept his belief that "a poetic drama rooted in American speech and manners" was the only way to produce a tragedy out of the common man's life. The play was set in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, a time when many people were accused of being witches and were burned alive. Miller's play pointed out how similar those events were to Senator Joseph McCarthy's (1909–1957) investigations of anti-American activities during the early 1950s, which led to wild accusations against many public figures. Miller himself was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in June 1956 and was asked to give the names of guilty parties. He stated, "My conscience will not permit me to use the name of another person and bring trouble to him." He was convicted of contempt of (lack of respect for) Congress, but the conviction was reversed in 1958.
Two of Miller's one-act plays, A View from the Bridge and A Memory of Two Mondays (1955), were social dramas focused on the inner life of working men; neither had the power of Death of a Salesman. Nor did his film script, The Misfits (1961). His next play, After the Fall (1964), was based on his own life. His second wife, actress Marilyn Monroe (1926–1962), was the model for one of the characters. Incident at Vichy (1965), a long, one-act play based on a true story set in France during World War II (1939–45; when Germany, Italy, and Japan battled France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States), examined the nature of guilt and the depth of human hatred. In The Price (1968) Miller returned to domestic drama in his portrayal of a tight, intense struggle between two brothers, almost strangers to each other, brought together by their father's death. It is Miller at the height of his powers, cementing his position as a major American dramatist.
But The Price proved to be Miller's last major Broadway success. His next work, The Creation of the World and Other Business, was a series of comic sketches first produced on Broadway in 1972. It closed after only twenty performances. All of Miller's works after that premiered outside of New York. Miller staged the musical Up From Paradise (1974) at the University of Michigan. Another play, The Archbishop's Ceiling, was presented in 1977 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
In the 1980s Miller produced a number of short pieces. The American Clock was based on Studs Terkel's (1912–) history of the Great Depression (a slump in the country's system of producing, distributing, and using goods and services that led to almost half of the industrial workers in the country losing their jobs during the 1930s). Elegy for a Lady and Some Kind of Story were two one-act plays that were staged together in 1982. Miller's Danger, Memory! was composed of the short pieces I Can't Remember Anything and Clara. All of these later plays have been regarded by critics as minor works. In the mid-1990s Miller adapted The Crucible for a film version starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Joan Allen.
Despite the absence of any major successes since the mid-1960s, Miller seems secure in his reputation as a major figure in American drama. In addition to his Pulitzer Prize in 1949, his awards include the Theatre Guild National Prize, 1944; Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award (given for achievement in the theater), 1947 and 1953; Emmy Award (given for achievement in television broadcasting), 1967; George Foster Peabody Award, 1981; John F. Kennedy Award for Lifetime Achievement, 1984; Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, 1999; National Book Foundation lifetime achievement award, 2001; New York City College Alumni Association medal for artistic devotion to New York, 2001; and the Japan Art Association lifetime achievement award, 2001.
For More Information
Bigsby, C. W. E. A Critical Introduction to Twentieth-Century American Drama. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982.
Glassman, Bruce. Arthur Miller. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Silver Burdett Press, 1990.
Miller, Arthur. Timebends: A Life. New York: Grove Press, 1987. Reprint, New York: Penguin Books, 1995.
Schlueter, June, and James K. Flanagan. Arthur Miller. New York: Ungar, 1987.
Arthur Miller (born 1915), American playwright, novelist, and film writer, is considered one of the major dramatists of 20th-century American theater.
Arthur Miller was born on Oct. 17, 1915, in New York City. His father ran a small coat-manufacturing business; during the Depression it failed, and in 1932, after graduating from high school, Miller went to work in an auto-parts warehouse. Two years later he enrolled in the University of Michigan. Before graduating in 1938, he won two Avery Hopwood awards for playwriting.
Miller returned to New York City to a variety of jobs, writing for the Federal Theater Project, the Columbia Workshop, and the Cavalcade of America. Because of an old football injury, he was rejected for military service, but he toured Army camps to collect material for a movie, The Story of GI Joe, based on a book by Ernie Pyle. His journal of this tour was titled Situation Normal (1944). That same year the Broadway production of his The Man Who Had All the Luck opened and closed almost simultaneously, though it won a Theater Guild Award. In 1945 his novel, Focus, a diatribe against anti-Semitism, appeared.
With the opening of All My Sons on Broadway (1947), Miller's theatrical career burgeoned. The Ibsenesque tragedy won three prizes and fascinated audiences across the country. Then Death of a Salesman (1949) brought Miller a Pulitzer Prize, international fame, and an estimated income of $2 million. The words of its hero, Willy Loman, have been heard in at least 17 languages as well as on movie screens everywhere. By the time of his third Broadway play, The Crucible (1953), audiences were ready to accept Miller's conviction that "a poetic drama rooted in American speech and manners" was the only means of writing a tragedy out of the common man's life.
In these three plays Miller's subject was moral disintegration. His shifting from contemporary life in Salesman to the Salem witch hunt of 1692 in The Crucible hardly disguised the fact that he had in mind Senator Joseph McCarthy's investigations of Communist subversion in the United States and the subsequent persecutions and hysteria. When Miller was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in June 1956, he argued, "My conscience will not permit me to use the name of another person and bring trouble to him." He was convicted of contempt of Congress; the conviction was reversed in 1958.
Two one-act plays, A View from the Bridge and A Memory of Two Mondays (1955), were social dramas focused on the inner life of working men; neither had the power of Salesman. Nor did his film script, The Misfits (1961). His next play, After the Fall (1964), was a bald excursion into self-analysis. His second wife, Marilyn Monroe, was the model for the heroine. Incident at Vichy (1965), a long one-act play based on a true story out of Nazi-occupied France, examined the nature of racial guilt and the depths of human hatreds; it is discursive exercise rather than highly charged theater.
In The Price (1968) Miller returned to domestic drama in a tight, intense confrontation between two brothers, almost strangers to each other, brought together by their father's death. It is Miller at the height of his powers, consolidating his position as a major American dramatist.
But The Price proved to be Miller's last major Broadway success. His next work, The Creation of the World and Other Business, was a series of comic sketches first produced on Broadway in 1972. It closed after only twenty performances. All of Miller's subsequent works premiered outside of New York. Miller staged the musical Up From Paradise (1974, an adaptation of his Creation of the World), at his alma mater, the University of Michigan. Another play, The Archbishop's Ceiling, was presented in 1977 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In the 1980s, Miller produced a number of short pieces. The American Clock was based on author Studs Terkel's oral history of the Great Depression, Hard Times, and was structured as a series of vignettes that chronicle the hardship and suffering that occurred during the 1930s. Elegy for a Lady and Some Kind of Story were two one-act plays that were staged together in 1982. Miller's Danger, Memory! was composed of the short pieces I Can't Remember Anything and Clara. All these later plays have been regarded by critics as minor works. In the mid-1990s, Miller adapted The Crucible for the Academy Award-nominated film starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Joan Allen.
Despite the absence of any major success since the mid-1960s, Miller seems secure in his reputation as a major figure in American drama. He has won the Emmy, Tony, and Peabody awards, and in 1984 received the John F. Kennedy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Critics have hailed his blending of vernacular language, social and psychological realism, and moral insight. As the commentator June Schlueter has said, "When the twentieth century is history and American drama viewed in perspective, the plays of Arthur Miller will undoubtedly be preserved in the annals of dramatic literature."
Miller's Collected Plays was published in 1957, and a collection of his short stories, I Don't Need You Any More, in 1967. His Collected Plays, Volume II was published in 1980. The Portable Arthur Miller, which includes several of his major plays, was published in 1971. S.K. Bhatia's study Arthur Miller was published in 1985. See also C.W.E. Bigsby's A Critical Introductiion to Twentieth-Century American Drama, published in 1984. Partly biographical is Benjamin Nelson, Arthur Miller: Portrait of a Playwright (1970), although the focus is on the plays. Useful critical studies are Dennis Welland, Arthur Miller (1961); Sheila Huftel, Arthur Miller: The Burning Glass (1965); Leonard Moss, Arthur Miller (1967); and Edward Murray, Arthur Miller, Dramatist (1967). In addition to these sources, there are numerous Internet web sites devoted in whole or in part to Miller's life and works. □
Arthur Miller, 1915–2005, American dramatist, b. New York City, grad. Univ. of Michigan, 1938. One of America's most distinguished playwrights, he has been hailed as the finest realist of the 20th-century stage. Miller's plays are, above all, concerned with morality as they reflect the individual's response to the manifold pressures exerted by the forces of family and society. Recurring themes of his major works involve the overwhelming importance of personal and social responsibility and the moral corruption that results from betraying the dictates of conscience.
Miller's masterpiece, Death of a Salesman (1949; Pulitzer Prize), is the story of a salesman betrayed by his own hollow values and those of American society. The Crucible (1953) is both a dynamic dramatization of the 17th-century Salem witch trials and a parable about the United States in the McCarthy era (see McCarthy, Joseph Raymond); it has been his most frequently produced work. In A View from the Bridge (1955; Pulitzer Prize) Miller studies a Sicilian-American longshoreman whose unacknowledged lust for his niece destroys him and his family. Miller's tumultuous life with his second wife, Marilyn Monroe, to whom he was married from 1956 to 1961, is fictionalized in his After the Fall (1964), and a barely disguised version of the glamorous but troubled actress also appears in his last play, Finishing the Picture (2004).
Miller's other plays include The Man Who Had All the Luck (1940), All My Sons (1947), Incident at Vichy (1965), The Price (1968), The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972), The American Clock (1980), The Ride down Mount Morgan (1991), Broken Glass (1994), and Resurrection Blues (2002). He also wrote the screenplay for The Misfits (1961); the television dramas Playing for Time (1980) and Clara (1991); a novel, Focus (1945); and two books of short stories (1967, 2007). Miller's The Theater Essays (1971, rev. ed. 1996) is a collection of writings about the craft of playwriting and the nature of modern tragedy, and Echoes down the Corridor (2000) is a collection of essays (1944–2000), many of them autobiographical. He collaborated with his third wife, the photographer Inge Morath (1923–2002), on several books; their In Russia (1969) is a study of the Soviet Union.
See his autobiography, Timebends (1987); M. C. Roudane, Conversations with Arthur Miller (1987), S. Centola, Arthur Miller in Conversation (1993), M. Gussow, Conversations with Miller (2002); biographies by M. Gottfried (2003) and C. Bigsby (2008); J. Meyers, The Genius and the Goddess: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe (2010); studies by B. Nelson (1970), R. Hayman (1972), J. J. Martine, ed. (1979), D. Welland (1979, repr. 1985), L. Moss (rev. ed. 1980), H. Bloom, ed. (1987), J. Schlueter and J. K. Flanagan (1987), N. Carson (1988), P. Singh (1990), S. R. Centola, ed. (1995), A. Griffin (1996), T. Otten (2002), C. Bigsby (2004), and E. Brater, ed. (2005).
MILLER, Arthur. American, b. 1915. Genres: Novels, Children's fiction, Plays/Screenplays, Autobiography/Memoirs, Novellas/Short stories. Career: International President, P.E.N., London and NYC, 1965-69; Associate Professor of Drama, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1973-74. Publications: Situation Normal, 1944; Focus (novel), 1945; All My Sons, 1947; Death of a Salesman, 1949; (adaptor) An Enemy of the People, 1950; The Crucible, 1953; A View from the Bridge, and Memory of Two Mondays: Two One-Act Plays, 1955; Collected Plays, 1957; The Misfits (screenplay and novel), 1961; Jane's Blanket, 1963; After the Fall, 1964; Incident at Vichy, 1961; I Don't Need You Anymore: Stories, 1967; The Price, 1968; (with I. Morath) In Russia, 1969; The Portable Arthur Miller, 1971; The Creation of the World and Other Business, 1972; Theatre Essays, 1978; (with I. Morath) Chinese Encounters, 1979; The American Clock, 1980; Collected Plays 2, 1981; (adaptation) Playing for Time, 1981; Two-Way Mirror, 1982; "Salesman" in Beijing, 1984; Danger! Memory!, 1986; Timebends (autobiography), 1987; Archbishop's Ceiling, 1989; The Crucible (screenplay), 1990; Conversations with Arthur Miller, 1987; Everybody Wins (screenplay), 1990; The Last Yankee (play), 1990, rev., 1992; The Ride down Mt. Morgan (play), 1991; Homely Girl: A Life, 1992; Gillbury (play) 1993; Broken Glass, 1994; Mr. Peter's Connections, 1998; Echoes down the Corridor: Collected Essays: 1944-2000, 2000; (with others) The Misfits: Story of a Shoot, 2000. Address: c/o ICM, 40 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019, U.S.A.