Marbles: A Play in Three Acts

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1990 - Drama - 87 pages

A Platonic dialogue in the form of a double anachronism--the action takes place two centuries after our era--Joseph Brodsky's only play, Marbles, is set in a prison cell that alone provides for the three unities of classic drama: those of time, place, and action. A nightmare rather than a utopia, this play proceeds according to the immanent logic of mental aggravation as its two characters, the inmates Publius and Tullius, examine the tautology of their psychological, historical, and purely physical confines. The fusion of its dour, somewhat terrifying vision with the macabre hilarity of its verbal texture allows Marbles to take its audience beyond the farthest reaches of the theatre of the absurd, into territory more suitable for modernist imagination than for human experience.

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Marbles: a play in three acts

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"Prison is a shortage of space compensated by a surplus of time'' is one of numerous references to time and space in this literary expression of Einstein's relativity theory by Nobel Prize-winner ... Read full review

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About the author (1990)

Joseph Brodsky (1940-96) came to the United States in 1972, an involuntary exile from the Soviet Union. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and served as Poet Laureate of the United States in 1991 and 1992.

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