Beggar's Opera

ISBN-10: 0801438330
ISBN-13: 9780801438332
Edition: 2001
List price: $46.50 Buy it from $3.91
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Book details

List price: $46.50
Copyright year: 2001
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 3/15/2001
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 128
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.682

Considered one of the leading intellectual figures and moral forces in Eastern Europe today, Vaclav Havel was born into a well-to-do Prague family on October 5, 1936. Denied the right to attend the university college because of his "bourgeois" background, Havel instead studied at a technical college from 1955 to 1957, and then enlisted in the Czechoslovak Army. Havel left the army in 1959 and began a career in writing. He took a job as a resident writer for the Prague Theatre on the Balustrade in 1960 and wrote his first play, The Garden City, three years later. Wanting to learn more about the craft that he now considered a full-time career, Havel enrolled in the Academy of Dramatic Arts, graduating in 1967. Two years later Havel's passport was revoked because the government considered his writings to be subversive. As an essayist, Havel has written the books Disturbing the Peace: A Conversation with Karel Hvizdal; Living in the Truth; Open Letters: Selected Prose 1965-1990; and Temptation. From 1979 to 1982, while in prison for subversion, Havel wrote a number of letters to his wife, Olga Splichalova. In 1983 those correspondences formed Havel's book Letters to Olga. On December 29, 1989, Vaclav Havel was elected President of Czechoslovakia. He resigned in 1992, only to be elected the president of the newly formed Czech Republic in 1993. Havel has been the recipient of more than a dozen honorary degrees.

Gay is a highly original poet and dramatist who experimented in various forms and genres. His The What D'Ye Call It: A Tragi-Comical Pastoral Farce (1715) is a burlesque of high seriousness, as is Three Hours after Marriage, which he wrote with his fellow members of the Scriblerus Club Alexander Pope and Dr. John Arbuthnot. The Beggar's Opera (1728) is his best-known work; it started the vogue for ballad operas, with tunes drawn from popular airs (Gay's are mostly from Thomas D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy, a popular sourcebook for ribald songs). The Beggar's Opera satirizes gentility and vulgarity alike, and its topical political allusions are so direct that the government forbade its' sequel, Polly. Bertolt Brecht caught the spirit of the work in his Threepenny Opera.

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