January 24, 2013

Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller
A leading 20th century American playwright and screenwriter

  • Full Name: Arthur Asher Miller
  • Birth: October 17, 1915
  • Death: February 10, 2005
  • Place of Birth: Harlem, New York City, USA
  • Place of Death: Roxbury, Connecticut, USA
  • Cause of death: Heart Failure
  • Buried at: Roxbury Center Cemetery, Roxbury, Connecticut
  • Religion: Jewish
  • Father: Isidore Miller
  • Mother: Augusta Barnett
  • Siblings: One older brother:  Matthew Kermit and a younger sister:  Joan Copeland
  • Marriage: Married thrice: Mary Grace Slattery  in August 5, 1940, Marilyn Monroe in June 29, 1956, Inge Morath in February 17, 1962
  • Number of Children:  He had four children, Jane and Robert A. Miller with Slattery and Rebecca Miller and Daniel with Morath.
  • Education: BA Journalism, University of Michigan (1938)
  • Known for: his awareness of portraying social realities of life
  • Criticised for: his scandalous life story
  • Influences: Henrik Ibsen
  • Influenced: NA


I think the tragic feeling is invoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing -- his sense of personal dignity.
Arthur Miller, "Tragedy and the Common Man"

Major Themes:

  • American dream/ self-delusion
  • Social and economic pressure
  • Value of human life
  • Illusion versus reality
  • Vengeance
  • The mentality of working class Americans
  • Responsibility to others
  • Generation gaps: old people vs. young people
  • Vulnerability of human existence in the modern era

Notable Works:

  • Honors at Dawn (1936)
  • The Man Who Had All the Luck (1944)
  • All My Sons (1947)
  • Death of a Salesman (1949)
  • The Crucible (1953)
  • A Memory of Two Mondays (1955)
  • A View from the Bridge (1955)
  • After the Fall (1964)
  • Incident at Vichy (1965)
  • The Price (1968)
  • The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972)
  • The Archbishop's Ceiling (1977)
  • The American Clock (1981)
  • Elegy For a Lady (1982)
  • Some Kind of Love Story (1982)
  • Danger: Memory!: Two Plays (I Can't Remember Anything and Clara) (1986)
  • The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1991)
  • The Last Yankee (1993)
  • Broken Glass (1994)
  • Mr. Peters' Connections (1998)
  • Resurrection Blues (2004)

Did You Know?

  • Arthur Miller’s father, Isidore Miller was a women's clothing manufacturer.
  • Isidore Miller was an illiterate Jewish immigrant from Poland.
  • Miller's family lost almost everything in the Stock Market Crash of 1929.
  • After high school graduation Miller worked a few odd jobs in order to save money for his education at University of Michigan.
  • Miller's debut Broadway play, The Man Who Had All the Luck (1944), was a great failure and closed after only four performances.
  • All My Sons (1947) became Miller's first success on Broadway and earned him his first Tony Award.
  • Miller alleged to be a life-long atheist.
  • Among Miller's most prestigious awards, are Emmy Awards, Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
  • A View from a Bridge (1955), one of Miller's best one-act plays was modified in 1956 to include two acts.
  • Arthur Miller married three times: Mary Slattery (1940-1956), Marilyn Monroe (1956-1961), and Inge Morath (1962-2002). He had two children with Slattery (Jane and Robert) and two more with Morath (Rebecca and Daniel). He did not have any children with Monroe.
  • The playwright and Monroe divorced less than two years before the famous actress died
  • In 1961, the year Miller and Monroe got divorced, Monroe starred in her last film The Misfits, which was based on the original screenplay by Miller.
  • Miller's daughter Rebecca married Academy Award winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis.
  • Miller's youngest son was born with Down Syndrome.
  • Miller decided to get married for the fourth time with the 34 year old minimalist painter Agnes Barley, but the plan failed as he died of heart failure.
  • Miller is buried with his wife Inge in Roxbury Center Cemetery, Roxbury, Connecticut.  Their grave is marked by an irregular granite upright marker and they each have flat granite foot markers.
  • Death of a Salesman was his first critically accepted play. It was opened on Broadway in 1949. The Play brought him three praiseworthy awards such as, the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and a Tony Award.
  • Miller’s play The Crucible (1953), although concerned with the Salem witchcraft trials, was actually an allegory of contemporary witch hunt plotted by Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s to blacklist the alleged communists from the government and other areas of American life.
  • Three years after The Crucible, in 1956, he was convicted of contempt of court for not revealing the names of Communist Party members before McCarthy's committee (House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities).
  • Miller wrote the screenplay for the production of a film version of The Crucible (1996).
  • The film version of The Crucible was not as well received as was the play.
  • His last play of note was The Price (1968), a piece about family dynamics.

“Arthur Miller.” Microsoft Encarta. DVD-ROM. Redmond: Microsoft, 2005.

“Arthur Miller Biography.” Bio. True Story. 1996–2013. A+E Television Networks, LLC.
25 November 2012
< http://www.biography.com/people/arthur-miller-9408335>.

“Biography of Arthur Miller.” GradeSaver. 1999-2013. GradeSaver LLC. 25 November 2012
< http://www.gradesaver.com/author/arthur-miller/>.

 “Fun Arthur Miller Facts.” Life123. 2013. Life123, Inc. 25 November 2012
< http://www.life123.com/>.

January 12, 2013

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

Irish poet, essayist, critic, playwright, editor, translator, lecturer and the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • Full Name: Seamus Justin Heaney
  • Pseudonym: Incertus   
  • Birth: 13 April 1939
  • Place of Birth: Northeast of Belfast in Northern Ireland
  • Father: Patrick Heaney
  • Mother: Margaret Kathleen Heaney (née McCann)
  • Siblings: two sisters and six brothers
  • Marriage: 1965
  • Spouse: Marie Devlin
  • Number of Children: 03
  • Education: St. Columb's College, Queen's University
  • Known for: his poetry which is noted for its portrayal of beautiful surroundings of Irish rural life as well as for its glimpse into the Irish historical and political events
  • Criticised for: for being an apologist and mythologizer
  • Influences:  T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Wilfred Owen, William Butler Yeats, William Shakespeare, Patrick Kavanagh, Derek Mahon, George Byron, Geoffrey Chaucer, Herbert McCabe, John Keats, John Millington Synge, William Wordsworth, John Montague
  • Influenced: Nick Laird, Eavan Boland


“Poetry cannot afford to lose its fundamentally self-delighting inventiveness, its joy in being a process of language as well as a representation of things in the world.” Seamus Heaney, The Redress of Poetry

Major Themes:

  • Nature
  • Love
  • The relationship between contemporary issues and historical patterns
  • Legend and myth

Notable Works:

Poetry Collections
  • Death of a Naturalist, Oxford University Press, 1966.
  • Door into the Dark, Oxford University Press, 1969.
  • Wintering Out, Faber, 1972, Oxford University Press, 1973.
  • North, Faber, 1975, Oxford University Press, 1976.
  • Field Work, Farrar, Straus, 1979.
  • Poems: 1965-1975, Farrar, Straus, 1980.
  • (Adapter) Sweeney Astray: A Version from the Irish, Farrar, Straus, 1984.
  • Station Island, Farrar, Straus, 1984.
  • The Haw Lantern, Farrar, Straus, 1987.
  • New and Selected Poems 1966-1987, Farrar, Straus, 1990.
  • Seeing Things: Poems, Farrar, Straus, 1991.
  • The Midnight Verdict, Gallery, 1993.
  • The Spirit Level, Farrar, Straus, 1996.
  • Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996, Farrar, 1998.
Poetry Chapbooks
  • Eleven Poems, Festival Publications (Belfast), 1965.
  • (With David Hammond and Michael Longley) Room to Rhyme, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, 1968.
  • A Lough Neagh Sequence, edited by Harry Chambers and Eric J. Morten, Phoenix Pamphlets Poets Press (Manchester), 1969.
  • Boy Driving His Father to Confession, Sceptre Press (Surrey), 1970.
  • Night Drive: Poems, Richard Gilbertson (Devon), 1970.
  • Land, Poem-of-the-Month Club, 1971.
  • Servant Boy, Red Hanrahan Press (Detroit), 1971.
  • Stations, Ulsterman Publications (Belfast), 1975.
  • Bog Poems, Rainbow Press (London), 1975.
  • (With Derek Mahon) In Their Element, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, 1977.
  • After Summer, Deerfield Press, 1978.
  • Hedge School: Sonnets from Glanmore, C. Seluzichi (Oregon), 1979.
  • Sweeney Praises the Trees, (New York), 1981.
  • The Fire i' the Flint: Reflections on the Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Oxford University Press, 1975.
  • Robert Lowell: A Memorial Address and Elegy, Faber, 1978.
  • Preoccupations: Selected Prose 1968-1978, Farrar, Straus, 1980.
  • The Government of the Tongue: Selected Prose, 1978-1987, Farrar, Straus, 1988.
  • The Place of Writing, Scholars Press, 1989.
  • The Redress of Poetry, Farrar, Straus, 1995.
  • (With Alan Brownjohn) New Poems: 1970-71, Hutchinson, 1971.
  • Soundings: An Annual Anthology of New Irish Poetry, Blackstaff Press (Belfast), 1972.
  • Soundings II, Blackstaff Press, 1974.
  • (With Ted Hughes) The Rattle Bag (poetry), Faber, 1982.
  • The Essential Wordsworth, Ecco Press, 1988.
  • Also editor of The May Anthology of Oxford and Cambridge Poetry, 1993.
  • (With John Montague) The Northern Muse (sound recording), Claddagh Records, 1969.
  • (Contributor) The Writers: A Sense of Ireland, O'Brien Press (Dublin), 1979.
  • Advent Parish Programme, State Mutual Book & Periodical Service, 1989.
  • Lenten Parish Programme: Renewal of Personal & Community Life through Prayer and Scripture, State Mutual Book & Periodical Service, 1989.
  • The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles Philotetes (drama), Farrar, Straus, 1991.
  • Crediting Poetry: the Nobel Lecture, Farrar, Straus, 1996.
  • (Translator) Beowulf, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999.

Did you Know?

  • Heaney also wrote several works under the pseudonym Incertus
  • His first collection of poetry was Death of a Naturalist (1966)
  • Heaney translated several important literary works
  • In the year 1995 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature
  • Heaney was born on a fifty-acre farm called Mossbawn in the townland of Tamniarn, County Derry, Northern Ireland
  • He grew up as a country boy and attended local school
  • At present he resides in Dublin
  • Heaney's poems first came to public attention in the mid-1960s when he was active as one of a group of poets who were subsequently recognized as constituting something of a "Northern School" within Irish writing
  • Heaney departed from Mossbawn at the age of 12 after securing a scholarship to St. Columb's College, a Catholic boarding school situated in the city of Derry
  • Heaney's departure from his birthplace could not detach him from its memory since much of his poetry is about country life
  • Heaney's brother, Christopher, was killed in a road accident at the age of four while Heaney was studying at St. Columb's College
  • Heaney wrote two of his poems: Mid-Term Break and The Blackbird of Glanmore in memory of Christopher
  • Heaney's study of Latin and Irish at St. Columb's College and subsequently Anglo-Saxon at Queen's University played an important role in the development of his poetic career
  • In recent years, he has been the recipient of several honorary degrees; he is a member of Aosdana, the Irish academy of artists and writers, and a Foreign Member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Heaney has attracted a readership on several continents and has won prestigious literary awards in England, Ireland, and the United States
  • Heaney did well, and in 1957 he entered Queen’s University, Belfast, where he had been offered another scholarship, this time to study for a degree in English Language and Literature
  • Although the Head of English at Queen’s encouraged Heaney to apply to Oxford to complete his postgraduate study, lack of confidence led him to opt to go to St. Joseph’s College for postgraduate course
  • After graduating from Queen’s University, Belfast in 1961, Heaney taught secondary school for a year and then lectured in colleges and universities in Belfast and Dublin
  • In the course of his career, Seamus Heaney has always contributed to the promotion of artistic and educational causes, both in Ireland and abroad
  • He was both the Harvard and the Oxford Professor of Poetry
  • Heaney was made a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 1996
  • Besides being a Nobel Prize winner in Literature, Heaney also received the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize (1968), the E. M. Forster Award (1975), the PEN Translation Prize (1985), the Golden Wreath of Poetry (2001), T. S. Eliot Prize (2006) and two Whitbread Prizes (1996 and 1999)
  • Heaney was awarded the Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry on June 6, 2012

Media Collection

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney with his wife Marie, and children, c.late 70s.

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney


 “Seamus Heaney.” Wikipedia. 2012. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 25 November 2012
< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seamus_Heaney>.

“Seamus Heaney.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2012. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., Inc.
25 November 2012 
< http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/258249/Seamus-Heaney>.

“Seamus Justin Heaney.” Gale Cengage Learning. 2012. Cengage Learning, Inc.
25 November 2012 
< http://www.gale.cengage.com/free_resources/poets/bio/heaney_s.htm>.

“The Nobel Prize in Literature 1995: Seamus Heaney.” Nobelprize.org. 1995.
The Nobel Foundation. 25 November 2012 
< http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1995/heaney-bio.html>.

January 6, 2013


Quotations by Arthur Miller

"I think the tragic feeling is invoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing -- his sense of personal dignity."
~ Arthur Miller, Tragedy and the Common Man

"A man is not an orange. You can't eat the fruit and throw the peel away."
~ Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

"The need of man to wholly realize himself is the only fixed star."
~ Arthur Miller, Tragedy and the Common Man

"Cleave to no faith when faith brings blood."
~ Arthur Miller, The Crucible, act II

"A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man."
~ Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

"Theology, sir, is a fortress; no crack in a fortress may be accounted small."
~ Arthur Miller, The Crucible

"Success, instead of giving freedom of choice, becomes a way of life. There's no country I've been to where people, when you come into a room and sit down with them, so often ask you, "What do you do?" And, being American, many's the time I've almost asked that question, then realized it's good for my soul not to know. For a while! Just to let the evening wear on and see what I think of this person without knowing what he does and how successful he is, or what a failure. We're ranking everybody every minute of the day."
~ Arthur Miller, Paris Review, Summer 1966

"One had the right to write because other people needed news of the inner world, and if they went too long without such news they would go mad with the chaos of their lives."
~ Arthur Miller, The Shadows of the Gods

"I do not believe that any work of art can help but be diminished by its adherence at any cost to a political program ... and not for any other reason than that there is no political program -- any more than there is a theory of tragedy -- which can encompass the complexities of real life."
~ Arthur Miller, Introduction to Collected Plays

"The Jungle is dark but full of diamonds."
~ Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

"I think it's a mistake to ever look for hope outside of one's self."
~ Arthur Miller, After the Fall

"Cleave to no faith when faith brings blood."
~ Arthur Miller, The Crucible

"Society is inside of man and man is inside society, and you cannot even create a truthfully drawn psychological entity on the stage until you understand his social relations and their power to make him what he is and to prevent him from being what he is not. The fish is in the water and the water is in the fish."
~ Arthur Miller, The Shadows of the Gods

"Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets."
~ Arthur Miller, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan

"The shadow of a cornstalk on the ground is lovely, but it is no denial of its loveliness to see as one looks on it that it is telling the time of day, the position of the earth and the sun, the size of our planet and its shape, and perhaps even the length of its life and ours among the stars."
~ Arthur Miller, The Shadows of the Gods

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