Monday, September 27, 2010

The Tuesday Book Club discusses A Man for All Seasons

On Tuesday, September 14, the Tuesday Book Club talked about Robert Bolt’s classic play, A Man for All Seasons, which dramatizes the imprisonment and execution of Sir Thomas More. Most group members liked the play very much, touting its witty dialogue and Bolt’s excellent writing, both of which evoke the tumultuous years leading up to the English Reformation. While one member found the play made for pretty dry reading, we all agreed that the issues and themes swirling amidst Bolt’s stormy dialogue were compelling.

What is a conscience, and what does it mean to hold one’s own convictions above all else, and what if that includes king and country? In the play, Thomas More does what he thinks is right, and Bolt’s staging leads us to agree with More. Whatever we think about Henry’s divorce and the break with the Roman Catholic Church, the group agreed that the play holds up More as a paragon of intelligence, morality, and self-fortitude. More’s “self” is so strong he can’t give in and take an oath declaring Henry the head of the church. “You might as well advise a man to change the color of his eyes,” More says of the prospect of giving in to the King’s demands.

All told, we had another fine discussion of history and classic works of literature. Everyone is excited to read next month’s companion book, Wolf Hall. This 2009 novel by Hilary Mantel takes Thomas Cromwell, one of the out and out villains in Bolt’s play, as its main character and ostensible hero. Join us October 19 for what promises to be a fascinating discussion of Mantel’s Booker Prize winning novel.

The Tuesday Book Group discusses contemporary books alongside the classic works that inspired them. We meet the second Tuesday of the month (October is an exception) at 1:00PM in the Stride Room.




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