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JB by Archibald MacLeish

JB (original 1958; edition 1958)

by Archibald MacLeish

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6411115,089 (3.72)15
Authors:Archibald MacLeish
Info:Houghton Mifflin (1958), Edition: First Edition. date on title page, Unknown Binding
Collections:Your library

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J.B.: A Play in Verse by Archibald MacLeish (1958)

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I read this play for Mrs. Horsley's AP Lit class in high school, then promptly forgot about it until I was perusing the poetry stacks at the library a few weeks ago. I couldn't resist picking it up again. The play won a Pulitzer Prize in 1958, and is a modern-day re-telling of the book of Job, though it is more expressionist than realist. The Job character, J.B., is a pious, successful businessman who is divested of children, wife, and health in successive disasters. But the real main characters are two actors, Mr. Zuss and Mr. Nickles, who take upon themselves the roles of God and Satan in the reenactment of the drama. Zuss and Nickles of course explore the question of theodicy, the problem of evil and suffering in the world, but they also provide the most poignant commentary on Job's relationship to God. The conclusion of the play is really powerful, challenging the rather dissatisfactory equivalency at the ending of the biblical Book of Job. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Reading this was fine and good and hard, just like Job is. But seeing it -- there is just something about it. I loved it. I loved all the questions it raises and does not answer. Why is life so hard? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do good things happen to bad people? What are we to do after we suffer and suffer and suffer? Can we ask questions? Must we curse God and die? Can we not just choose to live? The ultimate to be or not to be, this ancient story made modern so that I can grasp it just a little better. ( )
1 vote sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
  kutheatre | Jun 7, 2015 |
A modern retelling of the Job story. Love MacLeish's absurdist approach and symbolism. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
A look at the story of Job, told through the eyes of two actors, Mr. Zuss and Nickles, who take on the roles of God and Satan respectively. J.B. loses everything, but still refuses to curse God. That much is well known; the interest in this play lies in the modernization of the play, and also in the biting wit with which the author addresses his topic. Philosophical questions of life, death, and justice are examined, but answers are not easily dispensed. The audience is left to sort that out for themselves. ( )
  Devil_llama | Mar 16, 2015 |
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The scene throughout is a corner inside an enormous circus tent where a side show of some kind has been set up.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0395083532, Paperback)

Based on the story of Job, this drama in verse tells the story of a twentieth-century American banker and millionaire whom God commands be stripped of his family and wealth, but who refuses to turn his back on God. J.B. won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1959 and the Tony Award for best play. More important, the play sparked a national conversation about the nature of God, the meaning of hope, and the role of the artist in society.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:27 -0400)

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Modern poetic version of the biblical Book of Job which attempts to relate the concept of goodness to contemporary life.

(summary from another edition)

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