My textbooks arrived for the Study of Filmed Plays class I’m taking this Spring at San Diego City College. I bought Introduction to Play Analysis and The Glass Menagerie in the recommended editions, but already owned this different edition of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead.

Textbooks for Study of Filmed Plays class: Introduction to Play Analysis by Cal Pritner and Scott Walters, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard

One thing hasn’t changed since my college days: textbooks are pricey. Introduction to Play Analysis, for instance, is a slender volume of 135 pages or so, for which Amazon charges about $20. Granted, it’s a lot harder to write short than to write long (as a veteran ad copywriter, I appreciate tight writing), and there’s a limited market for this sort of thing, but we’re still talking over 14 cents a page from nearly every beginning theatre student in the country. Not enough to get rich on, but a nice little earner.

I glanced through the book, though, and my initial impression is that it’s worth the price. Even without guided instruction – start of class is months away still – the book seems to offer a solid framework for analyzing plays with an eye toward performance, which is exactly what I was hoping to get out of the class. And, its appendix contains a brief analysis of Hamlet, a significant bonus for me.

This version of The Glass Menagerie was a bit of a surprise because, unlike other editions, it contains no significant critical commentary or analysis. But I suppose that’s what we’re supposed to be learning, so to have a volume like this, without the crutch of someone else’s analysis, leaves room for the development of one’s own.

Many students sell their books back after the class is over. I kept most of my literature and advertising books from my college days and will be adding these to my ever-expanding library.

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