THE JEWELER'S SHOP by Karol Wojtyla


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Is the Pope to blame if people exhume his long-dead literary efforts to make a few extra zlotys? Perhaps not, but he ought at least to feel a little uneasy that this soulless, inept poetic drama is back in print. Originally published in 1960, it has three loosely structured acts dealing with three couples: one just engaged, quietly blissful; another, empty and disillusioned after years of marriage; and a third (son of couple #1, daughter of couple #2) looking forward somewhat nervously to their wedding. Their preachy, prosy monologues keep harkening back to the jewelry store where they bought their wedding rings--only the jeweler is really God, and the play as a whole is really a conservative theological meditation on matrimony. A character named Adam (i.e., sanctified humanity) serves as raisonneur, exhorting the embittered middle-aged wife, for example: ""Ah, Anna, how am I to prove to you that on the other side of all those loves which fill our lives--there is Love!"" Adam has a good deal to say about Christ the Bridegroom, most of it utterly flat. There is also a chorus which at one (literally) pedestrian moment expostulates with the modern-day foolish virgins who have left their lamps out in the rain: ""O foolish virgins,/ no one can strike a flame from water!/ (Human feet are protected from the wet/ by shoes.)"" Easter Vigil and Other Poems, which came out about a year ago, showed that John Paul II could write competent if not moving or inspired verse; but this is not even competent--just embarrassing.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1980
ISBN: 089870426X
Publisher: Random House