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WILLIAM ALFRED - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 05/28/1979 - HFSID 223392

WILLIAM ALFRED In a typed letter, "The Professor" talks about the opening of his new play and about what makes a piece of writing important. Typed Letter signed: "Your Brother, William Alfred", 1 page, 8½x11. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1979 May 28. On his imprinted stationery to "Dear Mr.

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WILLIAM ALFRED
In a typed letter, "The Professor" talks about the opening of his new play and about what makes a piece of writing important.
Typed Letter signed: "Your Brother, William Alfred", 1 page, 8½x11. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1979 May 28. On his imprinted stationery to "Dear Mr. Norbutt". In full: "I mislaid your letter of the 5 January until now. This has been a rushed year, a heavy load of students, and rewrites and new songs and scenes for my play, The Curse of an Aching Heart, which opens in Chicago on the 9 May and will probably be getting to New York in the late fall or early winter, when, if you will let me know, I will get tickets for you and the young people you are working with. As it stands now, Meryl Streep wil be playing the heroine, but these things change. I think you all will like it. It's a comedy about working people in Brooklyn in the twenties, and takes place within walking distance of Bedford Stuyvesant, Clinton Street and Second Place. The questions you asked me are hard to answer. A piece of writing has lasting importance for me when it is about what it is like to live in a particular time in a particular country, what it is really like, what people are up against both because of the values of the outside world and because of their own values, what people will or will not do when their values are in conflict with the values of that world. What they will not do is the source of their honor, in my opinion. As to the loneliness of being a writer, there's something to that, but not as much as most of us writers would like people to believe. You and your young friends deal with the pain of the poverty of life with the same immediacy and patience of any writer and probably with a great deal more gallantry and humor than most of us do. And when I make the division you and us, that merely is for the convenience of answering the question. Anyone who wants it hard enough can make himself a writer. Please keep in touch, and let me know if there is anything I can do to be of help. I have a foster-son in Walpole, so I have a sense of how hard things get trying to stay out of one's own way for people who've had a rotten time of it." William Alfred (1922-1999) grew up in a working class Brooklyn family and served in the tank corps in World War II. From 1954 to1991, he taught English at Harvard where, known as "The Professor", he inspired such future actors as Stockard Channing, John Lithgow and Tommy Lee Jones. Jones called him "my best teacher, ever." Alfred was also an acclaimed playwright. The Curse of an Aching Heart, mentioned in this letter, opened with Faye Dunaway, not Meryl Streep, in the starring role. Dunaway, a close friend of Alfred's, had found her breakout role in one of his earlier plays, Hogan's Goat (1966). Light mailing folds, not at signature. Fine condition.

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