Winner of Five Obies, now back in print after fifteen years, a stage adaptation of classic stories by Hawthorne and Melville
In the three plays inThe Old Glory--Endecott and the Red Cross;My Kinsman, Major Molineux; andBenito Cereno--the most powerful figure in postwar American poetry confronts the most haunting American fiction writers of the nineteenth century. The result is a mythical, nightmare history of three centuries in America. In Endecott and the Red Cross, Hawthorne's Puritan governor, horrified by his colony's high living, declares, "Everything in America will be Bible, blood and iron. / England will no longer exist." The other two plays, based on Hawthorne'sMy Kinsman, Major Molineux and Melville'sBenito Cereno, take up the themes of parricide and independence: one in Boston on the eve of the Revolutionary War, the other on a merchant ship in the Caribbean in the early nineteenth century.
The plays were first performed in 1964, when the poet Randall Jarrell wrote: "I have never seen a better American play thanBenito Cereno, the major play in Robert Lowell'sThe Old Glory . . . The play is a masterpiece of imaginative knowledge."
Robert Lowell (1917-77) was the renowned and controversial author of many books of poetry, including Day by Day, The Dolphin, andHistory. FSG also published hisCollected Prose in 1987.
“No other English or American poet of his generation has, in his handling of language, the same sheer brute strength; no other poet is so deeply moved not only by moral but by physical horror and disgust.” —G. S. Fraser, The New York Times Book Review
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