The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail is a two-act play by Robert Edwin Lee and Jerome Lawrence written in 1970. Hal B. Wallis is producer of the film based on the play, for which both Lawrence and Lee wrote the screenplay. The play is based on the early life of the titular character, Henry David Thoreau, leading up to his night spent in a jail in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau was jailed for refusing to pay a poll tax on the grounds that the money might be used to pay for the Mexican-American War, which he opposed.
Writing in the New York Times, Howard Taubman described the ideological relevance of the play to contemporary audiences, stating "this play and its protagonist, though they are of the 19th century, are speaking to today's concerns: an unwanted war in another land, civil disobedience, the interdependence of man and nature, education the role of government and the governed."
Famous quotes containing the words jail, spent, thoreau and/or night:
“If, after obtaining Buddhahood, anyone in my land
gets tossed in jail on a vagrancy rap, may I
not attain highest perfect enlightenment.”
—Gary Snyder (b. 1930)
“No contact with savage Indian tribes has ever daunted me more than the morning I spent with an old lady swathed in woolies who compared herself to a rotten herring encased in a block of ice.”
—Claude Lévi-Strauss (b. 1908)
“We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“We can remember as easily as the day we were born
The maggots we passed on the way and how the day bled
And the night too on hearing us, though we spoke only our childish
Ideas and never tried to impress anybody even when somewhat older.”
—John Ashbery (b. 1927)