Three Uses of the Knife
|Series||The Columbia Lectures on American Culture|
|Publisher||Columbia University Press|
|Pages||96 (first edition, clothbound)|
|LC Class||PN1631 .M26 1998|
Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama is a book by David Mamet that discusses playwriting. In it, Mamet discusses the conscious and unconscious processes that go on in developing a work of art.
The essay, dedicated to Michael Feingold (a critic of The Village Voice), is divided in three chapters: "The Wind-Chill Factor", "Second Act Problems", and "Three Uses of the Knife".
The book's title stems from a quote from musician Lead Belly, appearing on page 66:
- Huddie Ledbetter, also known as Leadbelly, said: You take a knife, you use it to cut the bread, so you'll have strength to work; you use it to shave, so you'll look nice for your lover; on discovering her with another, you use it to cut out her lying heart.
Another more significant quote from the book: "The subject of drama is The Lie. At the end of the drama THE TRUTH -- which has been overlooked, disregarded, scorned, and denied -- prevails. And that is how we know the Drama is done."
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