Although drama remained his favoured medium, Miller was drawn at several points in his long career to work in prose. As well as the stories collected here, he published three volumes of essays, a novel, Focus and a dazzling work of autobiography, Timebends. The text of The Crucible reads not unlike a novel albeit a fragmented, highly idiosyncratic one , due to the commentary Miller interposed, while the film treatment of The Misfits is even more novel-like.
But while most of his work is distinguished by a more or less dramatic sensibility — a sharp dialectical intelligence, a sense of moral urgency — his stories have a muted, off-kilter melancholy and a lightness of touch that sets them apart in his oeuvre.
They are involving, and often affecting, but they are written in a minor key. Presence brings together 16 of them, the last seven of which have never before been published in Britain. Most concern characters who feel themselves to be on the edge of things, sidelined by their family, by their friends or by society.
An ok collection, overall. Apr 22, Keith Willcock rated it it was amazing. Miller describes these short stories as accounts of things seen from various distances. I assume this means from various ages and stages of his life and indeed they encompass a wide range of themes including the original story of The Misfits. Despite the diverse nature of the stories there is within each of them a sensuality, a power and yes, a spirituality that disturbs one's carefully constructed defenses. These are deeply moving accounts of the human drama viewed from inside the characters' mi Miller describes these short stories as accounts of things seen from various distances.
These are deeply moving accounts of the human drama viewed from inside the characters' minds and we are required to surrender our closely guarded secrets if we are to get the most out of the intimate thoughts and experiences that we have been invited to share. I moved through the book slowly and uncertainly at first not sure where I was being taken and when I realized what the invitation required of me it was too late. I had already been seduced and felt a compelling urgency to know the truth.
There were moments when I rebelled against the demand to stand naked before my own flawed nature but to do anything less would have been dishonest and a disservice to the vulnerability of the characters and the quality of the writing. No value is too sacred; no feeling too perverse; no desire too dishonorable to escape the light of self examination. In the end we are reduced to the experience of The Fitter, the tough New York welder and mini mafioso who, having experienced perhaps the only truly honorable moment of his life, is described as "a lit face hung in an endless loneliness.
In the end I am relieved to have taken the journey. It is as if in the recognition of my own darkness something in me has dissolved and by it's absence has left me more whole than I was before. The question is, now that my face is lit will the light continue to shine or will the darkness overcome it, leaving nothing more than a fading memory?
To this question Miller offers no response. I suspect he did not have one.
The truth is that whether he did or not he has taken me as far as he can. The rest is up to me. May 26, Mainon rated it really liked it Shelves: So, you've known that Arthur Miller was a bit of a genius at sad stories ever since Death of a Salesman. These stories are a little bit random -- I've rarely felt so melancholy as when contemplating his tale of beavers trying to build a dam while avoiding being shot by hunters -- but each packs a punch.
And despite the broad range of settings and plots, many of these seem very real, as though I actually read them as long-form human interest stories in the New Yorker. Wait, was there really a guy So, you've known that Arthur Miller was a bit of a genius at sad stories ever since Death of a Salesman. Wait, was there really a guy who tried to distill turpentine from pine trees in Haiti in the wake of revolution, or was that just a story?
Arthur Miller is more known for his plays like "Death of a Salesman" which I had to read in school. I really liked it.
Shortly after his death in a final collection, Presence (), appeared. Now , all eighteen of these stories are gathered together in one volume for the first. The collected short fiction of America's leading dramatist of the 20th century in a Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition Though best known for.
I think he had a wonderful knowledge about human life in all its glory but also its lowness and a brilliant way of bringing it on stage. When I saw this collection of short stories in the library I just had to read it.
And I did not regret it. Stories so full of pain, love, frustration and hope not many every had the talent to describe those as close to life as he does. Certainly Arthur Miller is more known for his plays like "Death of a Salesman" which I had to read in school. Certainly one to read. Aug 10, Mateo rated it it was amazing. These stories have revived a faith in the good old fashioned short story I haven't felt for a decade.
Though recently published, they read like contemporaries with Salinger, early Roth, or other powerfully controlled voices. Each situation takes on mythic proportions within the shadowy poetics of reality. You are really going to like these stories. Nov 12, Melissa rated it it was amazing. In these stories he turns his attention to smaller, more intimate themes, yet still brings to bear the profound insight, humanism, empathy and wit of his work for the theatre.
Including the early, O. Henry Award-winning 'I Don't Need You Anymore', the original story of 'The Misfits' on which the film was based, and the beautiful late story ' Presence', this collection offers a fresh perspective on the great writer and his work, here informed by an unusual sensuality and delicacy.