HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Loading...

Death of a Salesman (original 1948; edition 1964)

by Arthur Miller

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,90577418 (3.68)214
Member:jwhenderson
Title:Death of a Salesman
Authors:Arthur Miller
Info:The Viking Press (1964), Paperback, 139 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:american literature, drama, pulitzer prize

Work details

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (1948)

  1. 20
    All My Sons by Arthur Miller (timspalding)
    timspalding: Similar, if not as good.
  2. 10
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (FFortuna)
  3. 10
    Our Town by Thornton Wilder (kxlly)
  4. 01
    1933 Was A Bad Year by John Fante (Babou_wk)
    Babou_wk: Le fils refuse de suivre la carrière professionnelle de son père.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 214 mentions

English (71)  Spanish (4)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  All languages (78)
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
I give myself chills whenever I hear myself say something along the lines of, "I could have been [insert desire] if only I'd [insert regret]." This is a haunting book.
( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
[Death of a Salesman] is a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama (1949) by Arthur Miller. Read it of a Saturday afternoon; rereading it for the first time since high school (very same book, by God!). As a ninth- or tenth-grader, I didn't really get it. Hmmm. More than a half-century on, I do get it. I have never seen it performed (no film version either), but I want to now.

The main character's name is familiar to most readers (even if the plot is not). Willy Loman is a traveling salesman who's represented a NYC company in New England states for 30+ years. He and his wife Linda have two adult sons. Biff, the older son, was a high school football hero with solid college-scholarship offers. But he flunked 12th-grade math, never got to college, never got married, and has shuffled from job to job as a ranch-hand in the west. He is perpetually at odds with his father; ordinary conversation veers into conflict and argument. The younger son, Happy (or Hap), has a steady job and his own apartment, and he spends his free time chasing skirt. Like his father, Happy lies to make himself look important and accomplished.

Willy's career is sputtering; the man who hired him has retired, turning the business over to his son. The son has taken away his salary; he's strictly on commission now, and commissions alone won't pay his bills. In this crisis time, Biff returns home.

Throughout, Willy's penchant for inflating his accomplishments and the value and importance of them is clear. He needs to be better than the other guy, he needs Biff to have been a star, to see him build on his teenage stardom, to be a BIG success. He lies to himself and to everyone around him about his own success. As reality demolishes his illusions, he drifts into flashbacks, dreaming and planning BIG things with Biff and Happy. Willy "sees" his much older brother, Ben, now dead, pass through on his way to a train or ship, off on some business trip that promises BIG reward. "When I was seventeen," Ben asserts, "I walked into the jungle, and when I was twenty-one I walked out. And by God I was rich."

Actors are drawn to the Willy Loman role. Lee J. Cobb was the very first to be Willy on Broadway, followed by George C. Scott, Dustin Hoffman, Brian Dennehy, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Fredric March performed him in a 1951 film. Rod Steiger played him in a 1966 BBC production. Cobb reprised the role in a 1966 television production.

The original production, directed by Elia Kazan, opened on February 10, 1949. It ran for 742 performance before closing November 18, 1950. It garnered multiple Tony Awards, including one for Miller.
  weird_O | Feb 29, 2016 |
A very powerful ending! ( )
  oel_3 | Jan 17, 2016 |
Very depressing but compelling story revealing the myth of the American Dream. When you read honest literature, you see how little the world has really changed. There is nothing in this 1949 play that is not relevant today. The bit about things are timed to wear out by the time they're paid for (free-and-clear) is the most heartbreaking part. So many people buy into these modern myths it scares me. ( )
  Victor_A_Davis | Sep 18, 2015 |
A fairly uneventful play. I couldn't really sympathize with any of the characters because I didn't like them. ( )
  ScribblingSprite | Aug 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

Is contained in

Has the adaptation

Has as a study

Has as a student's study guide

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
A melody is heard, played upon a flute.
Quotations
You don't understand: Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life... He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back - that's an earthquake.
He's liked, but he's not well liked.
Biff : Shouldn’t we do anything?

Linda : Oh, my dear, you should do a lot of things, but there’s nothing to do, so go to sleep.
Charley : Howard fired you?

Willy : That snotnose. Imagine that? I named him. I named him Howard.

Charley : Willy, when’re you gonna realize that them things don’t mean anything? You named him Howard, but you can’t sell that. The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is that you’re a salesman, and you don’t know that.

Willy : I’ve always tried to think otherwise, I guess. I always felt that if a man was impressive, and well liked, that nothing-

Charley : Why must everybody like you? Who liked J. P. Morgan? Was he impressive?...But with his pockets on he was very well liked.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140481346, Paperback)

Ever since it was first performed in 1949, Death of a Salesman has been recognized as a milestone of the American theater. In the person of Willy Loman, the aging, failing salesman who makes his living riding on a smile and a shoeshine, Arthur Miller redefined the tragic hero as a man whose dreams are at once insupportably vast and dangerously insubstantial. He has given us a figure whose name has become a symbol for a kind of majestic grandiosity—and a play that compresses epic extremems of humor and anguish, promise and loss, between the four walls of an American living room.

"By common consent, this is one of the finest dramas in the whole range of the American theater." —Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times

"So simple, central, and terrible that the run of playwrights would neither care nor dare to attempt it." —Time

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:50 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The powerful drama of Willy Loman & his tragic end. Ever since it was first performed in 1949, Death of a Salesman has been recognized as a milestone of the American theater. In the person of Willy Loman, the aging, failing salesman who makes his living riding on a smile and a shoeshine, Arthur Miller redefined the tragic hero as a man whose dreams are at once insupportably vast and dangerously insubstantial. He has given us a figure whose name has become a symbol for a kind of majestic grandiosity-and a play that compresses epic extremems of humor and anguish, promise and loss, between the four walls of an American living room. "By common consent, this is one of the finest dramas in the whole range of the American theater."… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
46 avail.
47 wanted
10 pay9 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.68)
0.5 5
1 50
1.5 17
2 157
2.5 28
3 425
3.5 81
4 577
4.5 60
5 419

Audible.com

3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 106,915,671 books! | Top bar: Always visible