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The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail by Jerome…
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The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail

by Jerome Lawrence, Robert E. Lee

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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
I read this for an English class in high school. Don't remember much about it, except that it inspired me to write a paper comparing Thoreau with the Hippies of the 1960s. ( )
  herebedragons | Jan 26, 2011 |
A very thoughtful, cleverly written play. I found the numerous elements of philosophy very well done.
Besides being philosophical, this book also combines conflictual theories and references to Politics, Psychology, Transcendentalism, and Religion. Lawrence examines with a critical eye the government, corrupt politicians, and the country's choices concerning the present Mexican War.
Well written, with complicated and deep characters. The plot line is more than a bit hazy, but the author seems to build on this fact purposefullyy. The play jumps back and forth between present times, memories, and what seem to sometimes be imaginary thoughts, which can be confusing at first. I think it would be much better to the see the script being acted out on an actual stage, but like most plays, I unfortunately haven't had the opportunity.
An excellent play with even better philosophical ideas and views. ( )
  joririchardson | Jan 19, 2010 |
This was an interesting read, and I'd say that the play is benefits from being both read AND seen--not simply one or the other, since I think the two experiences will compliment one another and strengthen the piece with readers/audience. And I enjoyed it for the most part--at times the characters seemed a bit too simple, but for the most part, it was smooth. Yet, I was left wanting a great deal more than what I got.

I think that the authors, simply, tried to cram too much into what needed to be a longer play to meet its potential, and that they were too much focused on ideas and history as opposed to character. It needed a bit more balance. I WANTED to care about Thoreau....but I rarely did, because he seemed more of a mouthpiece or charicature at times than a real person. That hurt the play for me, a great deal. I'd like to see it once, if given the opportunity, but it would be only once, just as I can't imagine wanting to come back to read this work again. Simply, it left me dissatisfied, feeling as if more time and care could have made this a masterpiece, but that as is the piece was lacking in passion and sympathy.

If you're interested, I certainly recommend it, as it is a worthwhile and interesting read--I fear though, that particular readers will feel as I do, that the work's potential just wasn't reached, or even necessarily reached for. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Jul 1, 2009 |
More or less what one would expect from the authors of Inherit the Wind. The play is of course a study of civil disobedience, but also worthwhile for the presentation of Thoreau as a character. He is always resolute, and yet while never yielding he still manages to grow. ( )
  Unreachableshelf | Apr 12, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jerome Lawrenceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, Robert E.main authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809012235, Paperback)

A reissue of a now classic American drama.

If the law is of such a nature that it requires you to be an agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law." So wrote the young Henry David Thoreau in 1849. Three years earlier, Thoreau had put his belief into action and refused to pay taxes because of the United States government's involvement in the Mexican War, which Thoreau firmly believed was unjust. For his daring and unprecedented act of protest, he was thrown in jail. The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail is a celebrated dramatic presentation of this famous act of civil disobedience and its consequences. Its poignant, lively, and accessible scenes offer a compelling exploration of Thoreau's philosophy and life.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:58 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The American naturalist's life and philosophy are revealed in a dramatic work which focuses on his symbolic act of civil disobedience in 1846. A superior play, a literary work as well as a theatrical experience. If the law is of such a nature that it requires you to be an agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law, so wrote the young Henry David Thoreau in 1849. Three years earlier, Thoreau had put his belief in action and refused to pay taxes because of the United States government's involvement in the Mexican War, which Thoreau firmly believed was unjust. For his daring and unprecedented act of protest, he was thrown in jail. The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail is a celebrated dramatic presentation of this famous act of civil disobedience and its consequences. It is poignant, lively, and accessible scenes offer a compelling exploration of Thoreau's philosophy and life. Scene after scene moves you to laughter or close to tears. Thoreau would illuminate any season. A reissue of a now classic American drama.… (more)

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