Death of a Salesman 50th Anniversary Edition

Miller, Arthur with a New Preface by Miller

Published by Penguin Books, 1999
ISBN 10: 0140285652 / ISBN 13: 9780140285659
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Square, tight, clean. No notes or names. Remainder slash at bottom edge. DJ with only minor crimps and lightly rubbed, else Fine. ; 142 pages. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: An unsuccessful traveling salesman finally confronts, in his early sixties, his shattered dreams

Review: Arthur Miller's 1949 Death of a Salesman has sold 11 million copies, and Willy Loman didn't make all those sales on a smile and a shoeshine. This play is the genuine article--it's got the goods on the human condition, all packed into a day in the life of one self-deluded, self-promoting, self-defeating soul. It's a sturdy bridge between kitchen-sink realism and spectral abstraction, the facts of particular hard times and universal themes. As Christopher Bigsby's mildly interesting afterword in this 50th-anniversary edition points out (as does Miller in his memoir, Timebends), Willy is closely based on the playwright's sad, absurd salesman uncle, Manny. But of course Miller made Manny into Everyman, and gave him the name of the crime commissioner Lohmann in Fritz Lang's angst-ridden 1932 Nazi parable, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse.

The tragedy of Loman the all-American dreamer and loser works eternally, on the page as on the stage. A lot of plays made history around 1949, but none have stepped out of history into the classic canon as Salesman has. Great as it was, Tennessee Williams's work can't be revived as vividly as this play still is, all over the world. (This edition has edifying pictures of Lee J. Cobb's 1949 and Brian Dennehy's 1999 performances.) It connects Aristotle, The Great Gatsby, On the Waterfront, David Mamet, and the archetypal American movie antihero. It even transcends its author's tragic flaw of pious preachiness (which undoes his snoozy The Crucible, unfortunately his most-produced play).

No doubt you've seen Willy Loman's story at least once. It's still worth reading. --Tim Appelo

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Death of a Salesman 50th Anniversary Edition
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover,with Photos
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition; First Printing.

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Arthur Miller; Introduction-Christopher Bigsby
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Book Description Penguin Books, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1999. Hardcover. Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. Penguin Books, New York. 1999. Hardcover. First Printing. Book is tight, square, and unmarked. 50th Anniversary Edition with a New Preface by the author. Book Condition: Fine. DJ: Near Fine; bumps at spine; several small pinpoint digs in surface on front. Gray boards with blue cloth overlay on spine with bright silver lettering on spine. 142 pp. All his life Willie Loman has been a traveling salesman, who made a decent living-but not more. Dreams and evasions have kept him from seeing himself as he is. He has learned the American go-getter philosophy by heart, and passed it on to his sons, to their great undoing. And then, at 63, finally forced to face reality, Willy turns away, down the only road open to him. A clean pristine copy. Seller Inventory # 002544

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