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Book Information: Temptation

Temptation (1986) [Play]
by Václav Havel Rating: No votes (Rate!)
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Summary (From the publisher):

In his most challenging work to date, Czech playwright Václav Havel has given the Faust legend a provocative twist. His setting is "the Institute;' whose mission is to combat the "irrational tendencies" in society through its scientific work. Personal and professional relationships at this "lighthouse of truthful knowledge' are a tissue of lies and sycophancy in which all concerned willingly collude.

The only tempest in this teapot of careerism is Dr. Foustka, who has lately been smitten by metaphysical doubt and is rumored to be dabbling in the black arts. His mentor, the unlikely Mephistopheles of the piece, is a dwarflike old man with smelly feet and a slippery logic that irresistibly appeals to Foustka's intellectual hubris. With great wit and originality, Havel follows the familiar outlines of the story to a unique conclusion at a "witches' sabbath" garden party organized by the Institutes crafty director in the spirit of "modern group-costume therapy."

For Havel, the "rational" carried to surreal lengths of irrationality is not a theatrical technique but a fact of life in Czechoslovakia since the Soviet invasion of 1968. Yet in universalizing his tale through the Faust legend, he forcefully reminds us that under conditions of modern bureaucracy, neither East nor West holds a monopoly on the sale of souls.

Original title: Pokoušeni
Original languages: Czech


Genre: Drama and Plays

Edition #1: Temptation

Temptation (1994)
Edition Details:

Language: English

Translated by: Marie Winn
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Manifested in:

Temptation (January 12, 1994)

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Grove Press
ISBN: 080213100X
Dimensions: 5.3 x 8.1 x 0.3
Pages: 112

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