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Wit: A Play (1995)

by Margaret Edson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1602416,813 (4.35)35
"In this play, Margaret Edson has created a work that is as intellectually challenging as it is emotionally immediate. At the start of Wit, Vivian Bearing, Ph. D., a renowned professor of English who has spent years studying and teaching the brilliantly difficult Holy Sonnets of the metaphysical poet John Donne, has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. Her approach to her illness is not unlike her approach to the study of Donne: aggressively probing and intensely rational. But during the course of her illness - and her stint as a prize patient in an experimental chemotherapy program at a major teaching hospital - Vivian comes to reassess her life and her work with a profundity and humor that are transformative both for her and for the audience"--Jacket.… (more)
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» See also 35 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Very moving story about the ups and downs of cancer through the eyes of the patient, in fast forward, as the play is only around 80 pages. Compelling. ( )
  Chanicole | Jul 6, 2023 |
A bit stuck in the late-90s Tear Down The Fourth Wall movement, but otherwise quite outstanding.

The death-and-afterlife-obsessed metaphysical poetry of [a:John Donne|77318|John Donne|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1220618065p2/77318.jpg] serves as a counterpoint to the reality of a slow, painful death in a cancer ward.
Now is not the time for verbal swordplay, for unlikely flights of imagination and wildly shifting perspectives, for metaphysican conceit, for wit.
...
Now is a time for simplicity.
( )
  mkfs | Aug 13, 2022 |
Vivian Bearing, an English literature professor specialising in John Donne, undergoes horrific chemo before dying of her stage 4 ovarian cancer in this harrowing play. ( )
  atreic | Oct 13, 2021 |
I was actually fortunate enough to read it, and then see it performed during the same semester back in graduate school. In my journal back then, I did write that I thought the play as I read it was better than the performance itself (however, I should note we had gone to see a "preview" performance). But it was still a good experience. There are a lot of ironies in the play, and it is a very moving piece. Again, my journal notes are mostly academic, so I will leave them out. ( )
  bloodravenlib | Aug 17, 2020 |
Beautiful and moving play with much to say about modern medicine and the way it interferes with the dignity of the human person. But it is really about life, how we are living the time we have -- that little comma between our beginning and our end on earth. I loved it. ( )
  MMKY | Jul 3, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margaret Edsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Otten, MarcelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Hi. How are you feeling today? Great. That's just great.
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"In this play, Margaret Edson has created a work that is as intellectually challenging as it is emotionally immediate. At the start of Wit, Vivian Bearing, Ph. D., a renowned professor of English who has spent years studying and teaching the brilliantly difficult Holy Sonnets of the metaphysical poet John Donne, has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. Her approach to her illness is not unlike her approach to the study of Donne: aggressively probing and intensely rational. But during the course of her illness - and her stint as a prize patient in an experimental chemotherapy program at a major teaching hospital - Vivian comes to reassess her life and her work with a profundity and humor that are transformative both for her and for the audience"--Jacket.

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