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Early Morning


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A: Edward Bond Pf: 1968, London Pb: 1968 G: Drama in 21 scenes S: Windsor Castle and Great Park, Slough, Beachy Head, and heaven, mid-19th c. C: 12m, 3f, extrasDisraeli and Prince Albert are plotting a military coup against Queen Victoria. George, the Prince of Wales, who is the Siamese twin of Arthur, is to marry Florence Nightingale. Len is tried by Victoria for eating a man who pushed in a cinema queue. Victoria rapes Florence. In the bungled coup, Victoria poisons and strangles Albert, and George gets shot. A lynch mob, led by Gladstone, prepare to hang Len for letting Victoria escape. Victoria and her sons are lined up before a firing squad, but are let go when Gladstone drops dead. George shoots himself dead. As the civil war continues, Albert carries the corpse of his brother with him. Victoria, enjoying her lesbian relationship with Florence, has regained control. Everyone now meets in heaven, where Victoria puts Arthur on trial and Len shares a human leg with the others. Arthur, who is desperate to die properly, is spoiling heaven for everyone else. Victoria and Albert resolve to eat Arthur, but Florence tries to conceal his head from them. This gets eaten too, and Arthur is laid to rest in a coffin, from which he rises in the air. Victoria declares that in heaven ‘There's only peace and happiness, law and order.’

A: Edward Bond Pf: 1968, London Pb: 1968 G: Drama in 21 scenes S: Windsor Castle and Great Park, Slough, Beachy Head, and heaven, mid-19th c. C: 12m, 3f, extras

This nightmare vision of a world in which respected rulers and historical icons are revealed to be violent, amoral, and lustful, was banned in toto by the Lord Chamberlain. It offered trenchant political analysis coupled with poetic statement, violent imagery with outrageous humour, fantastic invention with a historical perspective. The cannibalism that so shocked audiences is merely a metaphor for the behaviour of the capitalist who devours his own kind.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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Edward Bond (b. 1934) English dramatist


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