An Historical Play by Arthur Miller
TWO POSTWAR DRAMATISTS--Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller--have written plays that seem likely to endure. Within a year of the same age, both of them experienced the Great Depression. Neither, because of physical disabilities, was engaged in World War II. Both men had training with competent university professors of playwriting. Their prize-winning successes and international fame as new dramatists came within the same few years. Each has written two powerful dramas of highly original dramaturgy. But there the similarity ends, and the short and tall, smooth and rugged contrasts begin: Williams from the South, a wanderer upon the earth; Miller from Brooklyn, at home in Con necticut. One a "dramatist of frustration," the other a playwright of positive protest.
Arthur Miller was born on the upper East side of New York, the Harlem section, the son of Isidore and Augusta (Barnett) Miller. The family moved to Brooklyn, where Arthur went to high school. Then he worked for two years, in an auto-parts warehouse, to save money enough to begin at the University of Michigan. There he made his own way, with an N.Y.A. Depression job and as night editor of the Michigan Daily, and wrote plays, studying under Kenneth T. Rowe. He won the Avery Hopwood award for play- writing in 1936 and again in 1937 for $500. In 1938 he took his A.B. degree and won the Theater Guild National Award of $1250. He then went back to New York and began writing for the Federal Theater Project, which was curtailed before his first script was produced. He turned to radio drama and wrote for Columbia Workshop and Cavalcade of America. In 1940 he married his university classmate, Mary Grace Slattery; they have two children. A high-school football injury kept him from active war service, though he worked as a steamfitter at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and