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Christopher Fry (1907–2005)

Author of The Lady's Not for Burning

Includes the names: Chrisopher Fry, Crhistopher Fry, Christopher Fry

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Success came to Christopher Fry after 38 years of living close to poverty. He was born in Bristol, where his father, a poor architect, turned to lay missionary work in the slums. In 1940, after alternating between teaching and acting, Fry became the director of the excellent Oxford Playhouse. As a Quaker conscientious objector, he refused to bear arms in World War II. He was first discovered by critics and connoisseurs in 1946, when a small London theater staged A Phoenix Too Frequent, his version of the perennial story of the widow who accepts a new lover while mourning beside her husband's grave. Three years later, John Gielgud's production of The Lady's Not for Burning (1949) brought Fry popular success in London and the provinces. This clever medieval conceit was produced in New York, and received the Drama Critics Circle Award for 1950. Sir Laurence Olivier commissioned Venus Observed (1950), a play about middle age, the autumn section of what has come to be a cycle of seasonal plays. The winter play, The Dark Is Light Enough (1954), followed two years later. Set in 1848, during the Hungarian revolution against the Austrian empire, it takes a moral stand against any use of violence. (An antiwar morality play, A Sleep of Prisoners, had been produced in 1951.) It was more than a decade before Fry's summer comedy, A Yard of Sun (1970), was published. Fry's relation to T. S. Eliot is interesting. Like him, Fry is a Christian verse dramatist. He has set a play (like Eliot) in a church (A Sleep of Prisoners); he has written a historical study of Becket and Henry II (Curtmantle, 1962). And, like Eliot, Fry has achieved a loose, speakable verse. Yet their differences are equally instructive. Fry's verse, unlike Eliot's functional amble, strives to be poetic, with flamboyant energy and arresting wit. The same theatricality is evident in, say, his Becket play, in which he replaces the introspection of Eliot's martyr with the strong clash of personalities. The Lady's Not for Burning ---which was performed alongside Eliot's The Cocktail Party (1949) in 1949---is a downright, if intellectual, comedy, unlike the dry drawing-room enigma of Eliot. As a translator-adaptor, Fry seems almost single-handedly responsible for the postwar English vogue of modern French writers. His version of Jean Giraudoux's The Trojan War Will Not Take Place (a transatlantic success in 1959, when it was retitled Tiger at the Gates) was revived at the National Theatre in 1984, directed by Harold Pinter. Fry is also a screenwriter (John Huston's The Bible, William Wyler's Ben Hur) and composer. (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from The Lady's Not for Burning
… (more)
The Lady's Not for Burning 413 copies, 6 reviews
A Sleep of Prisoners 83 copies, 1 review
Venus Observed 78 copies, 1 review
A Phoenix Too Frequent 71 copies, 1 review
The Bible: In the Beginning [1966 film] (Screenwriter) 71 copies, 3 reviews
Barabbas [1961 film] (Screenwriter) 39 copies
The Firstborn 38 copies
Curtmantle 35 copies, 1 review
Selected Plays 26 copies
A Yard of Sun 13 copies, 1 review
An Experience of Critics 11 copies, 1 review
Open door 1 copy
Plays 1 copy
Cyrano de Bergerac (Translator, some editions) 6,558 copies, 71 reviews
Tiger at the Gates (Translator, some editions) 554 copies, 9 reviews
The Lark (Translator, some editions) 326 copies, 4 reviews
The Penguin Book of Contemporary Verse (Contributor, some editions) 243 copies, 3 reviews
Ring Round the Moon (Translator, some editions) 102 copies, 1 review
Religious Drama 1 (Contributor) 68 copies
Three European Plays (Translator, some editions) 55 copies
Four Modern Verse Plays (Contributor) 52 copies
Contemporary Drama - 11 Plays (Contributor) 38 copies
Laurie Lee: A Many-coated Man (Contributor) 5 copies
The West Country Book (Contributor) 5 copies
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