New York: Macmillan, 1977. First Edition. INSCRIBED to playwright and film director David Mamet and his then-wife, actress Lindsay Crouse, in the year of publication on the title page: "For two beautiful people / Lindsay and David / Harold Clurman / Dec. 21, 1977."
A remarkable association, connecting three generations of historic figures in world theatre. Ibsen, the book's subject, was a Norwegian playwright who founded modernism in theatre, and is considered the "father of realism." Clurman, massively influenced by Ibsen, was one of the three founders of New York's legendary Group Theatre in 1931, a company that altered the shape of twentieth century drama, and bringing the talents of Clifford Odets, among others, to the fore.
In later life, Clurman wrote many essays and reviews on David Mamet's earliest works, and was one of the first to champion Mamet's prodigious gifts (though he was not always complimentary). He once noted: "Mamet [demonstrates] genuine dramatic gifts. He possesses a tender sensibility and a keen sense of the stage. His plays shift in focus and in aim, as if they were meant not so much to interest or entertain us as to discover who he is."
Finally the inscription is poignant in that it was made the year Mamet wrote "A Life in the Theatre" (a play Clurman did not particularly care for, though he continued to champion the playwright), four years prior to Mamet's first screenplay ("The Postman Always Rings Twice"), and seven years prior to his masterpiece ("Glengarry Glen Ross"). Finally, it was inscribed in 1977, the year Mamet met Crouse, to whom he would remain married until 1990, and who starred in his important first film, "House of Games," in 1984.
Near Fine in a Near Fine dust jacket.