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The Selected Letters of Elia Kazanby Elia Kazan
Synopses & Reviews
Elia Kazan was born in 1909 in Istanbul, graduated from Williams College, and attended the Yale School of Drama before joining the Group Theatre. He was the founder of the Actors Studio, and won three Tony Awards (All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, J.B.) and two Academy Awards (Gentleman’s Agreement, On the Waterfront) for direction, as well as an honorary Oscar in 1999 for lifetime achievement. He wrote seven novels and an autobiography. He died in 2003.
Albert J. Devlin, professor emeritus of English at the University of Missouri, has written and edited books on Eudora Welty and Tennessee Williams. He received a senior fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for work on The Selected Letters of Tennessee Williams, which the Modern Language Association recognized as a "model edition" of letters and on which it bestowed the Morton N. Cohen Award in 2001. Marlene J. Devlin graduated from the University of Kansas. She taught at the University of Missouri and Columbia Public Schools.
"This collection of letters written by acclaimed director Elia Kazan chronicles his life from his start as an actor to his rise as a Broadway and Hollywood director to his life later as a writer. The book contains correspondence with a wide range of people beyond his family, including Tennessee Williams, John Steinbeck, Marlon Brando, and Robert De Niro. The editors provide context at the end of each letter, often making it difficult to grasp much of what Kazan discusses in the letter, especially with such an extensive list of people in Kazan's life, whom he refers to frequently by their first names only. The strict chronology by date disrupts any attempt at a narrative through line for Kazan's productions. The letters to his first wife Molly Day Thatcher are by far the highlight of the book. So emotionally explicit and outright, they provide a lurid glimpse into Kazan's troubled personal life. As for the rest, only experts in the life of Kazan will likely be able to easily digest this large book. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
From one of the most important and formidable figures in American theater and film: a selection of his letters-brimming with luminous insights and raw honesty-from 1925 through the publication of his 1988 "landmark autobiography."
Elia Kazan is perhaps best known as the premier interpreter of the works of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams on the stage, and for his remarkable cinematic oeuvre. But these extraordinary letters reveal the entire range of his development as an artist and a man, from his early years as an actor and director with the Group Theatre to his innovative work as a celebrated director of Broadway theater and film. His founding of the Actors Studio and co-directorship of the Repertory Theater at Lincoln Center placed Kazan in the vanguard of every major theatrical development of the pre- and postwar years. Here are letters to Clifford Odets, John Steinbeck, Williams, and Miller; to Lee Strasberg, Boris Aronson, Marlon Brando, Warren Beatty, and robert DeNiro. We see Kazan's heated dealings with studio moguls Darryl Zanuck and Jack Warner, his principled resistance to film censorship, the upheavals of his HUAC testimony, and his complicated family life. Perhaps no figure of popular culture more dramatically engaged the political, moral, and artistic crosscurrents of the postwar years than Elia Kazan.
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