The Collected Works of Harold Clurman

Marjorie Loggia, Editor, Glenn Young, Editor, Harold Clurman, Author
Marjorie Loggia, Editor, Glenn Young, Editor, Harold Clurman, Author Applause Books $49.95 (1101p) ISBN 978-1-55783-132-3
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
Paperback - 1120 pages - 978-1-55783-264-1
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Cofounder of the Group Theatre and director of such notable plays as Clifford Odets's Awake and Sing! and Carson McCullers's Member of the Wedding , Clurman (1901-1980) also reviewed other people's theatrical endeavors, primarily for the Nation and the New Republic . Virtually every article in this comprehensive collection exudes the wide-ranging curiosity and deep knowledge of all the arts and their history that led many to regard Clurman as the finest drama critic of his day. (The book also contains a smattering of material on painting, music, film and ballet.) It's unfortunate that such fine work is ill-served by the editors of this collection. TV writer/producer Loggia and Applause Books publisher Young provide no biographical information and hardly any annotation to clarify references and sources; as a result, Clurman's astute commentary floats in a historical vacuum that would have appalled its author, who firmly believed that all art has a social context. The editors also do Clurman a disservice by their lack of selectivity: his cogent analysis of the commercial theater's shortcomings loses its force by being repeated virtually unchanged in several essays, and the appendices (which clumsily violate the book's chronological structure) could have been eliminated altogether. Still, those who care about theater and criticism will savor Clurman's passionate, pointed prose. (Apr.)
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