Thursday, November 12, 2009

Top 10 books on witch persecutions

James Morrow's books include The Philosopher's Apprentice and The Last Witchfinder.

In 2006 he named a top ten list of books on witch persecutions for the Guardian. One title on the list:
The Crucible by Arthur Miller (1953)

Is there anything quite so aesthetically dreadful as a bad production of The Crucible? I think not. Yes, all drama is melodrama, but in writing a tragedy about the Salem witch trials, Miller was running the risk of eschatological soap opera - which is indeed what happens when this play is ill-mounted or indifferently acted. Should you ever hear of a favourably reviewed Crucible, however, don't hesitate to attend: properly staged, Miller's critique of religiosity is a religious experience. If no such theatre-going opportunity lies at hand, your next best option is the printed text. True, the author occasionally departs from the historical facts, and his decision to frame the story as a dress-rehearsal for McCarthyism feels heavy-handed in retrospect. But this is a beautifully structured work, full of searing moments and resonant speeches.
Read about all ten titles on Morrow's list.

Visit James Morrow's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Philosopher’s Apprentice.

--Marshal Zeringue