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Maureen Johnson?

wickedwitchofthechest
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Maureen Johnson?#0
Posted: 10/29/05 at 9:16pm
Has anyone read Philip Roth's My Life as a Man? I'm reading his autobiography for a class I'm taking, and it mentions the fact that he created a character named Maureen Johnson, a Protestant woman, with whom her Jewish ex-husband constantly wonders why he put himself through such a self-destructive relationship. I believe he comes to the conclusion that marrying her was necessary for his art (in this case, he's a writer). The relationship is modelled on Roth's own relationship with his first wife, whom he refers to as his nemesis.

Are Maureen and the Mark/Maureen relationship in Rent intentionally based on these characters, or is it a coincidence? Does anyone know?
"Wilkins, after all these years, are you trying to be funny?"
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broadwaystar2b
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re: Maureen Johnson?#1
Posted: 10/29/05 at 9:18pm
I've never heard of that
I suppose it's totally possible that Larson has read that book (he was a huge fan of literature) but Maureen may have just been the closest "contemporary" name to Musetta that he could find
Updated On: 10/29/05 at 09:18 PM
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EVIE
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re: Maureen Johnson?#2
Posted: 10/29/05 at 9:36pm
I also thought it was in reference to Musetta.
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almostxfamous
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re: Maureen Johnson?#3
Posted: 10/29/05 at 9:44pm
Well, if you look in the RENT bible, they have a scan of the paper where Jonathan converted their names. Musetta does become Maureen, as Schunard becomes Angel and Rodolph(I think .. I don't have the book on hand) becomes Roger.

I think if it was reference to that book, we would have known about it by now. Just a coincidence, I guess.
"Last week I would've given a kidney to anyone in this office. I would've reached right into my stomach and pulled it out for them. But now, no. I don't have the relationship with these people that I thought I did. I hope they ask, so they can hear me say, "Uh, no, I only give my organs to my real friends. Go get yourself a monkey kidney." "I'm not offended by homosexuality. In the 60's, I made love to many, many women. Often outdoors... in the mud and the rain. And it's possible a man slipped in. There would be no way of knowing. " -The Office
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Mandi Moo
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re: Maureen Johnson?#4
Posted: 10/29/05 at 9:48pm
And Colline becomes Collins, and Benoit becomes Benny, and Marcello becomes Mark. :) You should all try to see it, or see a video, or read the libretto....


Anyway, he could of been influenced by the book. Maybe he was trying to come up with something for Musetta, and remembered the character from the book? That would explain why her last name was Johnson too.
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re: Maureen Johnson?#5
Posted: 10/30/05 at 12:57am
Also, Musetta' older suitor (I forgot his name)becomes a woman --Joanne. Musetta is very much like Maureen as she loves to be the center of attention and you can see Marcello still holds a torch for her.
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wickedwitchofthechest
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re: Maureen Johnson?#6
Posted: 10/30/05 at 1:13am
Thanks for all the comments.

I know that Larson based his characters and their names on those in Puccini's La Boheme, but Maureen in Rent also shares a lot of characteristics with Roth's Maureen. I just wondered if anyone knew if Larson was referencing Roth in addition to La Boheme in Maureen's and, to some extent, Mark's cases.
"Wilkins, after all these years, are you trying to be funny?"
erinrebecca
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re: Maureen Johnson?#7
Posted: 10/30/05 at 1:18am
It's doubtful that there is any relation between the two. If you read Roth's book, you'll see that his Maureen is actually nothing like Jonathan's Maureen.
wickedwitchofthechest
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re: Maureen Johnson?#8
Posted: 10/30/05 at 1:36am
Thanks for your post, erinrebecca. You're probably right. As I said, I haven't read the book. I'm going off Roth's autobiography, in which he says that his disastrous and religiously conflictive relationship was necessary for him to come to creative fruition.

But, to me, Mark's and Maureen's relationship has always seemed a bit like, "How did that happen?" and I just think it's interesting to think of Maureen's relation to Mark as one of creative inspiration. I didn't mean to say that the characters are based directly on those in the book. (Although that's probably how I came off. I've been writing too much today to have any clarity left.) I just think there could be some interesting and not entirely coincidental parallels, or at least points of inspiration, especially with the Jewish/non-Jewish angle. (Maureen in Rent isn't Jewish, right?)
"Wilkins, after all these years, are you trying to be funny?"