Dutchman & The Slave
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Dutchman & The Slave

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,198 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Centered squarely on the Negro-white conflict, both Dutchman and The Slave are literally shocking plays--in ideas, in language, in honest anger. They illuminate as with a flash of lightning a deadly serious problem--and they bring an eloquent and exceptionally powerful voice to the American theatre.

Dutchman opened in New York City on March 24, 1964, to perhaps the most exc...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published January 1st 1971 by Harper Perennial (first published 1964)
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Wrote this in 2005 when I first read the play:

"Reading Dutchman, I’m torn once again between a very important political message, and its manifestation through problematic portrayals. First of all, the connection we are expected to draw between Lula and Eve (of Adam and) is about as subtle as a slap in the face with a wet fish, actually. All this eating of apples and the red hair and the seduction…jeez louise. Eve’s portrayal in the Bible as the seductress and initiator of Original Sin seems to h...more
Jun 16, 2012 Joe added it
Shelves: drama
Maybe you know Dutchman? So The Slave is a science fiction play that takes place in the middle of the race war everyone in the 70s was afraid would happen. Given the damage of the war (everyone), this is the, oddly, more optimistic of the plays in that it’s a cautionary tale. It takes place in the future. There’s still time.
And it makes sense that Dutchman is paired with this. In fact, it almost seems necessary to read them together. In one Hettie Jones (basically) kills LeRoi Jones in a presen...more
Nov 12, 2013 Shelley added it
Shelves: drama
I met Amiri Baraka today. He shook my hand and signed my edition of this book. I'm still reeling from the experience.

With two colleagues, I heard him speak at the 7th Annual Poetry Festival at Albany State University. In order to better acquaint myself with the man and his work before attending his presentation, I read two of his more famous plays over the weekend, Dutchman and The Slave, both first performed in 1964.

Sitting in a small lecture hall that should have been overflowing with students...more
May 05, 2008 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Amy by: Saxon
The Dutchman and the Slave are two plays by Leroi Jones (Amiri Baraka) from 1964. Both plays deal with black/white relations, specifically slave heritage and oppressor heritage respectively. Also, both make the point that sexual relations across racial lines does not increase understanding, nor should it contribute to any sense of authority about the life of the other.

In the Dutchman, we witness a subway ride with Clay, a early-20s middle class black man, and Lula, a closer to 30, provocative wh...more
Marc Kohlman
Boldly radical and fiercely truthful! These two plays are timeless on the subject of race conflict. I read these plays as part of my Rebels and Revolutionaries: Protest Literature class, having read some of LeRoi Jones aka Baraka's poetry which also is direct, aggressive, and opinionated. The subject-manner of these plays are still prevalent in societies today and Jones really critiques what society wants the public to see vs what it really is. "Dutchman" is a very powerful work where Jones make...more
These plays were awful. The idea that African-Americans, or, more generally, POCs, in the US have a consciousness rooted in rage is not that revolutionary. Maybe it was in 1964, but it seems to me that it could only have been surprising to people completely out of the loop (i.e. whites). Moreover, Baraka's repeated fallbacks on sexism and homophobia to make his Black male characters more masculine is tired and dated. That whole Black Macho shit just perpetuated the oppression/invisibility of Bla...more
Gabriel Oak
I can see why these plays were considered so shocking when they debuted in 1963 and 1964. They both suggest that violence is the logical end to the impasses of black-white race relations, and you can see Jones/Baraka's barely repressed fury at work in both of them. But they don't strike me as great drama in the sense that the characters themselves are not all that believable, and the staging is pretty minimal, even boring. The plays mainly consist of characters acting as voices for different phi...more
In Dutchman and The Slave, both plays published in 1964, Amiri Baraka (he was still LeRoi Jones at the time) presents two plays that explore a search for Black identity and consciousness and a question of sanity. Striking parallels and reversals reaffirm the sense that these two plays are meant to go hand in hand.

In Dutchman, Baraka presents to the theater audience a piece that is simple in structure—it features two characters and two scenes in a subway car—yet saturated with complexity and haun...more
Bobby Bermea
When I first read this play in college it hit me like a thunderclap. No other work of art ever has had the effect on me that this play had. It turned everything upside down, or rather right side up. DUTCHMAN came out a good quarter of a century before NWA came out with "Fuck tha Police". Martin Luther King had just or was about to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The idea was in the air (still is) that black people would be happy just to be able to participate. That there might be anger--even rage-- a...more
Jeff Crompton
I've had this paperback volume of LeRoi Jones'/Amiri Baraka's two most famous plays on my shelves for years; his recent death prompted me to finally read them. I would say that I wish I hadn't, but that's not quite right; at least I now know how awful they are.

I'm in the minority here, I know, but I thought that these plays were painfully bad. I've said before on Goodreads that Baraka's rage against white society was understandable, but that rage often had a negative effect on his work. The char...more
Jason Williams
If the reader knows what to look for, s/he can see the *infrapolitics* of the civil (or, human) rights and black power movements, movements that in some ways transcended race but in most cases (as Jones shows) did not and could not. In both plays, we have portrayals of "blacks acting white" and "whites acting black" (or at least white liberals pretending to be down); each group ultimately is forced to confront the discourses that established "whiteness" and "blackness" in the first place, and in...more
May 05, 2008 Saxon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Amy! read this goddamn play, even if you hate plays.
Shelves: school
Baraka (formerly le roi jones) sharply addresses black-white relations in this country through a semi-surreal encounter between a sultry white woman and pseudo-intellectual, black poet on a hot new york subway ride.

For being such a short play, Baraka touches on many race-related issues and chooses to express feelings of paranoia, distrust, guilt and alienation through emotional reactions of the characters instead of hyper-intellectualized examinations of race within our culture. I appreciate thi...more
Regarding Dutchman: at the time the play was explosive and wildly theatrical. I did the lighting for the piece during its Philadelphia premiere at Society Hill Playhouse. The author, still using his original name, provided actors with a raw and ballsy journey into rage. It was a scary time for cast, crew and audience since Philly was experiencing race riots, and we never knew how the audience would react to Jones's incendiary screech a la subway car violence. What I remember best was the extraor...more
Hani Kazem
I daresay that understanding how the human beings change their way of thinking or attitudes through period to period is so enjoyable,especially when we modify ourselves from stage to stage like what happened to LeRoie Jones (Imamu Amiri Baraka).If I got time I'll read the latest works of Imamu.
I've read only Dutchman.
On one hand, I don't like the issue of the play at all. I have a lot of black friends, so it was a little bit hard for me not to throw the book (well, the photocopies xD)
The most humillating moment for Clay I think it's when Lula says to him: "You ain't no nigger, you're just a dirty white man".
Nevertheless, I also think and suppose one play is good when it rises up different emotions from the reader and doesn't let him/her without any opinion.
On the other hand, I appl...more
Felix Purat
Dutchman, the controversial play by Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka, is very well written. Despite his militant or radical stances over the years, he nevertheless knows the ways of the written word and Dutchman is well constructed. Jones/Baraka is one of those people whose works need to be read before an adequate judgment can be made, and Dutchman is definitely a work that should be on that list.
The ONLY reason I read this was for a class. And the only reason it received as much as 2 stars is because it was mildly interesting.

This play is nothing but a poor description of racism and murder. Not only does it have a schizophrenic feel, but it left me (and I'm sure others as well) at a loss. What exactly happened and what was he point?
Branden Meyers
I've only read the Dutchman portion, so my rating reflects only that.
3 1/2 stars. I have only read "Dutchman", as I do not have a copy of "The Slave". Jones/Baraka is a vibrant writer, and although in "Dutchman" he sometimes meanders and creates dialogue that is at best symbolic and at worst implausible, this is a fascinating and controversial statement about race in America - which still has some resonance today - whether you agree with any of Baraka's opinions or not.
Interesting as an experimental piece, interesting as an intellectual piece, interesting as an academic piece, interesting as a piece of social commentary. Fun? No? Produceable for the masses? Absolutely not. But definitely prompted an interesting conversation, and it went well with our study of Baraka's poem "Somebody Blew Up America." Especially since we discussed it as an American text read in Europe.
...So confused... so don't get it. Maybe I don't have the critical fiber to understand this sort of racial satire? Is it satire? I don't even know. This is what graduate school is I suppose: reading things you don't understand and then getting performance anxiety when you realize you don't even KNOW what you read. Ah well, time to make chili.
Only getting 5 stars because of my undying love for DUTCHMAN. Literary masterpiece.
The 4 stars is primarily for how well constructed the Dutchman is. A great play to read. I don't want to even say anything about it, but the characters are great and the message is a good one. The Slave, however, is not as fine tuned, meanders a little, and ultimately just isn't of the high quality of the first play.
I always wanted to read these two plays. They were enjoyable enough, but would have impressed me much more if I'd read them 20 years ago. The world has moved on a bit since these were written, so they seem a bit dated. Edges are even sharper now in terms of the topic of racism.
Wes Young
As far as race issues go, these works are of an extreme nature. Also extremely angry works and somewhat violent. Why bookstores don't carry more Jones' plays, or, for that matter, why his plays aren't more widely portrayed, are extremely good questions.
A great play; one can feel the righteous indignation in Amiri Baraka's blood as s/he reads it: "Charlie Parker. Charlie Parker? All the hip white boys scream for Bird. And Bird saying, 'Up your ass, feeble-minded ofay. Up your ass.'"
Karya drama-nya LeRoi Jones, seorang penyair dan dramawan Afrika-Amerika yang kelak berganti nama menjadi Amiri Baraka ketika menjadi muslim dan kelak akhirnya meninggalkan Islam saat merangkum komunisme secara total...
This one-act play, written in the early 1960s, is a pretty good indictment of American racism, BUT really suffers from being polemic. Blech. I have a feeling that it would be much better performed than read.
Jan 10, 2011 Maria rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
Both places were about race relations. Black men and white women in both. Both seemed didactic and angry. not to my taste but probably important for the time when they were written.
May 16, 2013 Joe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
One of the most formative books I have ever read. Its immediacy, claustrophobia and textual violence spoke to me as an undergraduate and speaks to me even more strongly now.
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Read 1 5 Oct 11, 2010 04:33PM  
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Baraka was born Everett LeRoy Jones in Newark, New Jersey, where he attended Barringer High School. His father, Coyt Leverette Jones, worked as a postal supervisor and lift operator. His mother, Anna Lois (née Russ), was a social worker. In 1967 he adopted the African name Imamu Amear Baraka, which he later changed to Amiri Baraka.

The Universities where he studied were Rutgers, Columbia, and Howar...more
More about Amiri Baraka...
Blues People: Negro Music in White America The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader Transbluesency: Selected Poems, 1961-1995 Black Music The Dead Lecturer

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