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Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams NYWTS.jpg
Williams in 1965
Born March 26, 1911(1911-03-26)
Columbus, Mississippi, U.S.A.
Died February 25, 1983 (aged 71)
New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Occupation Playwright
Information
Period 1930-1983
Genre Southern Gothic
Influences Anton Chekhov
D. H. Lawrence
August Strindberg
Hart Crane

Tennessee Williams (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983) born Thomas Lanier Williams, was an American playwright who received many of the top theatrical awards for his works of drama. He moved to New Orleans in 1939 and changed his name to "Tennessee", the state of his father's birth.

He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. In addition, The Glass Menagerie (1945) and The Night of the Iguana (1961) received New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards. His 1952 play The Rose Tattoo received the Tony Award for best play. In 1980 he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter.

Contents

Biography

Childhood and education

Williams was born in Columbus, Mississippi, in the home of his maternal grandfather, the local Episcopal priest. He was of Welsh descent. His father, Cornelius Williams, a hard drinking traveling salesman, favored Tennessee's younger brother Dakin, perhaps because of Tennessee's weakness and effeminacy as a child. His mother, Edwina, was a borderline hysteric. Tennessee Williams would find inspiration in his problematic family for much of his writing.

In 1918, when Williams was seven, the family moved to the University City neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he first attended Soldan High School, used in his work The Glass Menagerie and later University City High School.[1] In 1927, at age 16, Williams won third prize (five dollars) for an essay published in Smart Set entitled, "Can a Good Wife Be a Good Sport?" A year later, he published "The Vengeance of Nitocris" in Weird Tales.

In the early 1930s Williams attended the University of Missouri, where he joined Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. In the late 1930s, Williams transferred to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri for a year, and finally earned a degree in 1938 from the University of Iowa, where he wrote "Spring Storm." By then, Williams had written Cairo, Shanghai, Bombay!. This work was first produced in 1935 by a community theater in Memphis, Tennessee. He later studied at The New School in New York City.

Writer

Williams lived for a time in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. He moved there in 1939 to write for the WPA. He first lived at 722 Toulouse Street, the setting of his 1977 play Vieux Carré. The building is part of The Historic New Orleans Collection. He began writing A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) while living at 632 St. Peter Street. He finished it later in Key West, Florida, where he moved in the 1940s. While in New Orleans, Williams met and fell in love with Frank Merlo, a second generation Sicilian American who had served in the U.S. Navy in World War II.

Tennessee was close to his sister Rose, a slim beauty who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age. As was common then, Rose was institutionalized and spent most of her adult life in mental hospitals. When therapies were unsuccessful, she showed more paranoid tendencies. In an effort to treat her, Rose's parents authorized a prefrontal lobotomy, a drastic treatment that was thought to help some mental patients who suffered extreme agitation.[citation needed] Performed in 1937 in Knoxville, Tennessee, the operation incapacitated Rose for the rest of her life. Her surgery may have contributed to his alcoholism and his dependence on various combinations of amphetamines and barbiturates often prescribed by Dr. Max (Feelgood) Jacobson.[2]

Williams worked extremely briefly in the renowned Gotham Book Mart in Manhattan, lasting less than a day.

Williams' relationship with Frank Merlo lasted from 1947 until Merlo's death from cancer in 1963. With that stability, Williams created his most enduring works. Merlo provided balance to many of Williams' frequent bouts with depression[3] and the fear that, like his sister Rose, he would go insane.

Death

Williams died on February 25, 1983.

Reports at the time indicated he choked on an eyedrop bottle cap in his room at the Hotel Elysee in New York. The reports said he would routinely place the cap in his mouth, lean back, and place his eyedrops in each eye.[4] The police report, however, suggested his use of drugs and alcohol contributed to his death. Prescription drugs, including barbiturates, were found in the room, and Williams' gag response may have been diminished by the effects of drugs and alcohol.

However, on February 15, 2010, Williams' friend Larry Myers told the New York Post that the autopsy reported that he died of "Acute Seconal Intolerance." The article said that Williams' Key West companion Scott Kenan said that somebody in the coroner's office "created the bottle-cap scenario." [5]

Williams' body was found by director John Uecker who was identified as his secretary and who travelled with Williams, and was staying in a separate room in Williams' suite.

Williams' body was taken to Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel and Williams' funeral took place on March 3, 1983 at Saint Malachy's Roman Catholic Church in New York City. At his brother Dakin's insistence, Williams' body was interred in the Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri, a city he detested. Williams had long told his friends he wanted to be buried at sea at approximately the same place as Hart Crane, a poet he considered to be one of his most significant influences.

Williams left his literary rights to The University of the South in honor of his grandfather, Walter Dakin, an alumnus of the university, which is located in Sewanee, Tennessee. The funds support a creative writing program. When his sister Rose died in 1996 after many years in a mental institution, she bequeathed $7 million [6] from her part of the Williams estate to The University of the South as well.

In 1989, the University City Loop (in a suburb of St. Louis) inducted Tennessee Williams into its St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Afterlife

In late 2009, Williams was inducted into the Poet's Corner at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine[2]. The ceremony seemed geared to elevate the poet and playwright into the pantheon of great English Language writers, including William Faulkner and William Shakespeare. The purpose of the ceremony seemed to be a prayer for the poet's fire to continually burn on Earth, as it would in heaven, and included elements choral music, tributes, readings, personal anecdotes from friends, and overall a tone and deliberate selections of choral music and prayer that offered acceptance and forgiveness which seemed to address certain prejudices which may have arisen against the poet in his lifetime so that the man's work could, going forward, be more fully accepted and explored.

Williams at the time of his death had been working on a final play, In Masks Outrageous and Austere [3], which attempted to reconcile certain forces and facts of his own life, a theme which ran throughout his work, as Elia Kazan had say. Please see the article in WikiPedia on In Masks Outrageous and Austere for further details.

Works

The "mad heroine" theme that appeared in many of his plays seemed clearly influenced by the life of Williams' sister Rose.[citation needed]

Characters in his plays are often seen as representations of his family members. Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was understood to be modeled on Rose. Some biographers believed that the character of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire is also based on her.

Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was generally seen to represent Williams' mother, Edwina. Characters such as Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and Sebastian in Suddenly, Last Summer were understood to represent Williams himself. In addition, he used a lobotomy operation as a motif in Suddenly, Last Summer.

The Pulitzer Prize for Drama was awarded to A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. These two plays were later filmed, with great success, by noted directors Elia Kazan (Streetcar) with whom Williams developed a very close artistic relationship, and Richard Brooks (Cat). Both plays included references to elements of Williams' life such as homosexuality, mental instability, and alcoholism. Although The Flowering Peach by Clifford Odets was the preferred choice of the Pulitzer Prize jury in 1955 and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was at first considered the weakest of the five shortlisted nominees, Joseph Pulitzer Jr., chairman of the Board, had seen Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and thought it worthy of the drama prize. The Board went along with him after considerable discussion.[7]

Williams wrote The Parade, or Approaching the End of a Summer when he was 29 and worked on it through his life. It seemed an autobiographical depiction of an early romance in Provincetown, Massachusetts. This play was produced for the first time on October 1, 2006 in Provincetown by the Shakespeare on the Cape production company, as part of the First Annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival.

The Parade, or Approaching the End of a Summer was among several works published by New Directions in the spring of 2008, edited and introduced by Williams scholar Annette J. Saddik. This collection of experimental plays was titled The Traveling Companion and Other Plays.usc

Williams' last play A House Not Meant to Stand is a gothic comedy published in 2008 by New Directions with a foreword by Gregory Mosher and an introduction by Thomas Keith. Williams called his last play a "Southern gothic spook sonata."

Other works by Williams include Camino Real and Sweet Bird of Youth.

His last play went through many drafts as he was trying to reconcile what would be the end of his life [4]. There are many versions of it, but it is referred to as In Masks Outrageous and Austere and a Wikipedia article may be found on the subject.

Plays

Apprentice plays

Major plays

Novels

Screenplays

Short stories

  • The Vengeance of Nitocris (1928)
  • The Field of Blue Children (1939)
  • The Resemblance Between a Violin Case and a Coffin (1951)
  • Hard Candy: A Book of Stories (1954)
  • Three Players of a Summer Game and Other Stories (1960)
  • The Knightly Quest: a Novella and Four Short Stories (1966)
  • One Arm and Other Stories (1967)
    • One Arm
    • The Malediction
    • The Poet
    • Chronicle of a Demise
    • Desire and the Black Masseur
    • Portrait of a Girl in Glass
    • The Important Thing
    • The Angel in the Alcove
    • The Field of Blue Children
    • The Night of the Iguana
    • The Yellow Bird
  • Eight Mortal Ladies Possessed: a Book of Stories (1974)
  • Tent Worms (1980)
  • It Happened the day the Sun Rose, and Other Stories (1981)

One-act collections

Tennessee Williams wrote over 70 one-act plays during his lifetime. The one-acts explored many of the same themes that dominated his longer works. Williams' major collections are published by New Directions in New York City.

Selected works

  • Gussow, Mel and Holditch, Kenneth, eds. Tennessee Williams, Plays 1937-1955 (Library of America, 2000) ISBN 978-1-883011-86-4.
    • Spring Storm
    • Not About Nightingales
    • Battle of Angels
    • I Rise in Flame, Cried the Phoenix
    • from 27 Wagons Full of Cotton (1946)
      • 27 Wagons Full of Cotton
      • The Lady of Larkspur Lotion
      • The Last of My Solid Gold Watches
      • Portrait of a Madonna
      • Auto-da-Fé
      • Lord Byron's Love Letter
      • This Property Is Condemned
    • The Glass Menagerie
    • A Streetcar Named Desire
    • Summer and Smoke
    • The Rose Tattoo
    • Camino Real
    • from 27 Wagons Full of Cotton (1953)
      • "Something Wild"
      • Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen
      • Something Unspoken
    • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  • Gussow, Mel and Holditch, Kenneth, eds. Tennessee Williams, Plays 1957-1980 (Library of America, 2000) ISBN 978-1-883011-87-1.
    • Orpheus Descending
    • Suddenly Last Summer
    • Sweet Bird of Youth
    • Period of Adjustment
    • The Night of the Iguana
    • The Eccentricities of a Nightingale
    • The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore
    • The Mutilated
    • Kingdom of Earth (The Seven Descents of Myrtle)
    • Small Craft Warnings
    • Out Cry
    • Vieux Carré
    • A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur

Related Works

A book is coming out soon by a former assistant, Scott. John Uecker is also has directed Williams' plays in addition to creating an edit of In Masks Outrageous and Austere.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Tennessee Williams and John Waters (2006) Memoirs, New Directions Publishing, 274 pages ISBN 0-8112-1669-1
  2. ^ "The Kindess of Strangers", Spoto
  3. ^ Jeste ND, Palmer BW, Jeste DV. Tennessee Williams. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2004 Jul-Aug;12(4):370-5. PMID: 15249274 [1]
  4. ^ Suzanne Daley (27.2.1983). Williams Choked on a Bottle Cap. The New York Times (engl.; abgerufen 27. Mai 2007)
  5. ^ Tennessee Williams' death myth - New York Post - February 15, 2010
  6. ^ New York Times obituary, September 7, 1996
  7. ^ Fischer, Heinz-Dietrich & Erika J. Fischer. The Pulitzer Prize Archive: A History and Anthology of Award-Winning Materials in Journalism, Letters, and Arts München: K.G. Saur, 2008. ISBN 3-598-30170-7 ISBN 978-3-598-30170-4 p. 246

References

File:Tennessee Williams NYWTS.jpg

  • Gross, Robert F., ed. Tennessee Williams: A Casebook. Routledge (2002). ISBN 0-8153-3174-6.
  • Leverich, Lyle. Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams. W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (1997). ISBN 0-393-31663-7.
  • Saddik, Annette. The Politics of Reputation: The Critical Reception of Tennessee Williams' Later Plays (London: Associated University Presses, 1999).
  • Spoto, Donald. The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams. Da Capo Press (Reprint, 1997). ISBN 0-306-80805-6.
  • Williams, Tennessee. Memoirs. Doubleday (1975). ISBN 0-385-00573-3.
  • Williams, Dakin. His Brother's Keeper: The Life and Murder of Tennessee Williams.
  • Sewanee, The University of the South

External links


Tennessee Williams
Williams in 1965
Born March 26, 1911(1911-03-26)
Columbus, Mississippi, U.S.A.
Died February 25, 1983 (aged 71)
New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Occupation Playwright
Information
Period 1930–1983
Genre Southern Gothic
Influences Anton Chekhov
D. H. Lawrence
August Strindberg
Hart Crane

Tennessee Williams (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983) born Thomas Lanier Williams, was an American playwright who received many of the top theatrical awards for his works of drama. He moved to New Orleans in 1939 and changed his name to "Tennessee", the Southeastern U.S. state, his father's birthplace.

He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. In addition, The Glass Menagerie (1944 in Chicago, 1945 in New York) and The Night of the Iguana (1961) received New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards. His 1952 play The Rose Tattoo received the Tony Award for best play. In 1980 he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter.

Contents

Career

, 1967]] In 1939, the young playwright received a $1,000 Rockefeller Grant, and a year later, Battle of Angels was produced in Boston which failed to achieve success.

Williams moved to New Orleans in 1939 to write for the WPA. He lived for a time in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana; first at 722 Toulouse Street, the setting of his 1977 play Vieux Carré. The building is part of The Historic New Orleans Collection. During 1944-45, The Glass Menagerie was produced in Chicago and was widely accepted as a success. This was followed by a successful Broadway run. The play tells the story of Tom, his disabled sister, Laura, and their controlling mother Amanda who tries to make a match between Laura and the gentleman caller. Many people believe that Tennessee used his own familial relationships as inspiration for the play. Elia Kazan (who directed many of Williams' greatest successes) said of Tennessee: "Everything in his life is in his plays, and everything in his plays is in his life." The Glass Menagerie won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best play of the season.

He began writing A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) while living at 632 St. Peter Street in New Orleans. He finished it later in Key West, Florida, where he moved in the 1940s. He won his first Pulitzer prize for the play.

Williams followed up his first major critical success with several other Broadway hits including such plays as Summer and Smoke, The Rose Tattoo, and Camino Real. He received his first Pulitzer Prize in 1948 for A Streetcar Named Desire, and reached an even larger world-wide audience in 1950 and 1951 when The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire were made into major motion pictures. Later plays which were also made into motion pictures include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (for which he earned a second Pulitzer Prize in 1955), Orpheus Descending, Night of the Iguana and Summer and Smoke.

Biography

Childhood and education

Williams was born in Columbus, Mississippi, in the home of his maternal grandfather, the local Episcopal priest. He was of Welsh descent. His father, Cornelius Williams, a hard drinking traveling salesman, favored Tennessee's younger brother Dakin, perhaps because of Tennessee's weakness and effeminacy as a child. His mother, Edwina, was a borderline hysteric. Tennessee Williams would find inspiration in his problematic family for much of his writing.

In 1918, when Williams was seven, the family moved to the University City neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he first attended Soldan High School, used in his work The Glass Menagerie and later University City High School.[1] In 1927, at age 16, Williams won third prize (five dollars) for an essay published in Smart Set entitled, "Can a Good Wife Be a Good Sport?" A year later, he published "The Vengeance of Nitocris" in Weird Tales.

In the early 1930s Williams attended the University of Missouri, where he joined Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. In the late 1930s, Williams transferred to Washington University in St. Louis for a year. There he wrote a play, Me Vaysha (1937). He finally earned a degree in 1938 from the University of Iowa, where he wrote "Spring Storm." Previously, Williams had written Cairo, Shanghai, Bombay! This work was first produced in 1935 by the Garden Players community theater in Memphis, Tennessee. Regarding this production, Williams wrote, ""The laughter ... enchanted me. Then and there the theatre and I found each other for better and for worse. I know it's the only thing that saved my life."[2] He later studied at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York City.

Personal life

Tennessee was close to his sister Rose, a slim beauty who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age. As was common then, Rose was institutionalized and spent most of her adult life in mental hospitals. When therapies were unsuccessful, she showed more paranoid tendencies. In an effort to treat her, Williams' parents authorized a prefrontal lobotomy, a drastic treatment that was thought to help some mental patients who suffered extreme agitation.[citation needed] Performed in 1937 at the Missouri State Sanitarium, the operation incapacitated Rose for the rest of her life.[3] Her surgery may have contributed to his alcoholism and his dependence on various combinations of amphetamines and barbiturates often prescribed by Dr. Max (Feelgood) Jacobson.[4]

While in New York, Williams worked in many casual jobs including as a waiter at a Greenwich Village restaurant and a cinema usher. Williams worked extremely briefly in the renowned Gotham Book Mart in Manhattan, lasting less than a day.

His first sexual affair with a man was at Provincetown, Massachusetts with a dancer named Kip Kiernan. He carried a photo of Kip in his wallet for many years. Having struggled with his sexuality throughout his youth, he came out as a gay man in private. When Kip left him for a woman and marriage, Williams was devastated. Williams was outed as gay by Louis Kronenberger in Time magazine in the 1950s.

While living in New Orleans, Williams met and fell in love with Frank Merlo, a second generation Sicilian American who had served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. This was his only enduring relationship. Williams' relationship with Frank Merlo lasted from 1947 until 1962. With that stability, Williams created his most enduring works. Merlo provided balance to many of Williams' frequent bouts with depression[5] and the fear that, like his sister Rose, he would go insane.

Due to Williams' addiction to sleeping pills and alcohol as well as his numerous episodes of infidelity, Merlo finally ended the relationship. However, soon after Merlo was diagnosed with lung cancer and died in 1963. Merlo's death deeply affected Williams and he sank into a deep depression.

He discussed his homosexuality openly on television and in print in the 70s. He released his autobiography Memoirs 1975.

His personal tragedies as well as alcoholism contributed to his emotional problems. At the insistence of his brother, he agreed to be rebaptized as a Catholic for a short time. His brother also admitted him to a psychiatric ward for treatment related to his addiction problems after a nervous breakdown in 1969.

Death

Williams died on February 25, 1983 at the age of 71.

Reports at the time indicated he choked on an eyedrop bottle cap in his room at the Hotel Elysee in New York. The reports said he would routinely place the cap in his mouth, lean back, and place his eyedrops in each eye.[6] The police report, however, suggested his use of drugs and alcohol contributed to his death. Prescription drugs, including barbiturates, were found in the room, and Williams' gag response may have been diminished by the effects of drugs and alcohol.

Williams' body was found by director John Uecker who was identified as his secretary and who travelled with Williams, and was staying in a separate room in Williams' suite.

Williams' body was taken to Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel and Williams' funeral took place on March 3, 1983 at Saint Malachy's Roman Catholic Church in New York City. At his brother Dakin's insistence, Williams' body was interred in the Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri. Williams had long told his friends he wanted to be buried at sea at approximately the same place as Hart Crane, a poet he considered to be one of his most significant influences.

Williams left his literary rights to The University of the South in honor of his grandfather, Walter Dakin, an alumnus of the university, which is located in Sewanee, Tennessee. The funds support a creative writing program. When his sister Rose died in 1996 after many years in a mental institution, she bequeathed $7 million [7] from her part of the Williams estate to The University of the South as well.

In 1989, the University City Loop (in a suburb of St. Louis) inducted Tennessee Williams into its St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Posthumous

In late 2009, Williams was inducted into the Poet's Corner at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine [3]. The ceremony seemed geared to elevate the poet and playwright into the pantheon of great English language writers, including William Faulkner and William Shakespeare. The purpose of the ceremony seemed to be a prayer for the poet's fire to continually burn on Earth, as it would in heaven, and included elements choral music, tributes, readings, personal anecdotes from friends, and overall a tone and deliberate selections of choral music and prayer that offered acceptance and forgiveness which seemed to address certain prejudices which may have arisen against the poet in his lifetime so that the man's work could, going forward, be more fully accepted and explored.

Williams at the time of his death had been working on a final play, In Masks Outrageous and Austere [4], which attempted to reconcile certain forces and facts of his own life, a theme which ran throughout his work, as Elia Kazan had said. As of September 2007, author Gore Vidal was in the process of completing the play, and Peter Bogdanovich was slated to direct its Broadway debut.[8]

Birth House Renovation

The former home of Tennessee Williams was recently renovated and reopened in downtown Columbus, Mississippi. [5]

Works

as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)]]

Characters in his plays are often seen as representations of his family members. Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was understood to be modeled on Rose. Some biographers believed that the character of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire is also based on her.

Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was generally seen to represent Williams' mother, Edwina. Characters such as Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and Sebastian in Suddenly, Last Summer were understood to represent Williams himself. In addition, he used a lobotomy operation as a motif in Suddenly, Last Summer.

The Pulitzer Prize for Drama was awarded to A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. These two plays were later filmed, with great success, by noted directors Elia Kazan (Streetcar) with whom Williams developed a very close artistic relationship, and Richard Brooks (Cat). Both plays included references to elements of Williams' life such as homosexuality, mental instability, and alcoholism. Although The Flowering Peach by Clifford Odets was the preferred choice of the Pulitzer Prize jury in 1955 and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was at first considered the weakest of the five shortlisted nominees, Joseph Pulitzer Jr., chairman of the Board, had seen Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and thought it worthy of the drama prize. The Board went along with him after considerable discussion.[9]

Williams wrote The Parade, or Approaching the End of a Summer when he was 29 and worked on it through his life. It seemed an autobiographical depiction of an early romance in Provincetown, Massachusetts. This play was produced for the first time on October 1, 2006 in Provincetown by the Shakespeare on the Cape production company, as part of the First Annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival.

Other works by Williams include Camino Real and Sweet Bird of Youth.

His last play went through many drafts as he was trying to reconcile what would be the end of his life [6]. There are many versions of it, but it is referred to as In Masks Outrageous and Austere.

Plays

Apprentice plays

Major plays

Novels

Screenplays

Short stories

  • The Vengeance of Nitocris (1928)
  • The Field of Blue Children (1939)
  • The Resemblance Between a Violin Case and a Coffin (1951)
  • Hard Candy: A Book of Stories (1954)
  • Three Players of a Summer Game and Other Stories (1960)
  • The Knightly Quest: a Novella and Four Short Stories (1966)
  • One Arm and Other Stories (1967)
    • One Arm
    • The Malediction
    • The Poet
    • Chronicle of a Demise
    • Desire and the Black Masseur
    • Portrait of a Girl in Glass
    • The Important Thing
    • The Angel in the Alcove
    • The Field of Blue Children
    • The Night of the Iguana
    • The Yellow Bird
  • Eight Mortal Ladies Possessed: a Book of Stories (1974)
  • Tent Worms (1980)
  • It Happened the day the Sun Rose, and Other Stories (1981)

One-act plays

Tennessee Williams wrote over 70 one-act plays during his lifetime. The one-acts explored many of the same themes that dominated his longer works. Williams' major collections are published by New Directions in New York City.

Selected works

  • Gussow, Mel and Holditch, Kenneth, eds. Tennessee Williams, Plays 1937-1955 (Library of America, 2000) ISBN 978-1-883011-86-4.
    • Spring Storm
    • Not About Nightingales
    • Battle of Angels
    • I Rise in Flame, Cried the Phoenix
    • from 27 Wagons Full of Cotton (1946)
      • 27 Wagons Full of Cotton
      • The Lady of Larkspur Lotion
      • The Last of My Solid Gold Watches
      • Portrait of a Madonna
      • Auto-da-Fé
      • Lord Byron's Love Letter
      • This Property Is Condemned
    • The Glass Menagerie
    • A Streetcar Named Desire
    • Summer and Smoke
    • The Rose Tattoo
    • Camino Real
    • from 27 Wagons Full of Cotton (1953)
      • "Something Wild"
      • Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen
      • Something Unspoken
    • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  • Gussow, Mel and Holditch, Kenneth, eds. Tennessee Williams, Plays 1957-1980 (Library of America, 2000) ISBN 978-1-883011-87-1.
    • Orpheus Descending
    • Suddenly Last Summer
    • Sweet Bird of Youth
    • Period of Adjustment
    • The Night of the Iguana
    • The Eccentricities of a Nightingale
    • The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore
    • The Mutilated
    • Kingdom of Earth (The Seven Descents of Myrtle)
    • Small Craft Warnings
    • Out Cry
    • Vieux Carré
    • A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur

Related Works

A book is coming out soon by a former assistant, Scott. John Uecker has also directed Williams' plays in addition to creating an edit of In Masks Outrageous and Austere.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Tennessee Williams and John Waters (2006) Memoirs, New Directions Publishing, 274 pages ISBN 0-8112-1669-1
  2. ^ Tennessee State Historical Marker 2 May 2008.
  3. ^ Philip Kolin, Something Cloudy, Something Clear: Tennessee Williams's Postmodern Memory Play. Spring 1998. Retrieved: 28 May 2010.
  4. ^ "The Kindess of Strangers", Spoto
  5. ^ Jeste ND, Palmer BW, Jeste DV. Tennessee Williams. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2004 Jul-Aug;12(4):370-5. PMID: 15249274 [1]
  6. ^ Suzanne Daley (27.2.1983). Williams Choked on a Bottle Cap. The New York Times (accessed 27 May 2007)
  7. ^ New York Times obituary, September 7, 1996
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ Fischer, Heinz-Dietrich & Erika J. Fischer. The Pulitzer Prize Archive: A History and Anthology of Award-Winning Materials in Journalism, Letters, and Arts München: K.G. Saur, 2008. ISBN 3-598-30170-7 ISBN 978-3-598-30170-4 p. 246

References

  • Gross, Robert F., ed. Tennessee Williams: A Casebook. Routledge (2002). ISBN 0-8153-3174-6.
  • Leverich, Lyle. Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams. W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (1997). ISBN 0-393-31663-7.
  • Saddik, Annette. The Politics of Reputation: The Critical Reception of Tennessee Williams' Later Plays (London: Associated University Presses, 1999).
  • Spoto, Donald. The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams. Da Capo Press (Reprint, 1997). ISBN 0-306-80805-6.
  • Williams, Tennessee. Memoirs. Doubleday (1975). ISBN 0-385-00573-3.
  • Williams, Dakin. His Brother's Keeper: The Life and Murder of Tennessee Williams.
  • Sewanee, The University of the South
  • Jacobus, Lee. "The Bedford Introduction to Drama". (Boston: Bedford, 2009)

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Revolution only needs good dreamers who remember their dreams.

Thomas Lanier Williams (26 March 191125 February 1983) was an American playwright.

See also: A Streetcar Named Desire (film); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (film)

Contents

Sourced

  • When I look back at Stairs to the Roof... I see its faults very plainly, as plainly as you may see them, but still I do not feel apologetic about this play. Unskilled and awkward as I was at this initial period of my playwriting, I certainly had a moral earnestness which I cannot boast of today, and I think that moral earnestness is a good thing for any times, but particularly for these times. I wish I still had the idealistic passion of Benjamin Murphy! You may smile as I do at the sometimes sophomoric aspect of his excitement, but I hope you will respect, as I do, the purity of his feeling and the honest concern which he had in his heart for the basic problem of mankind, which is to dignify our lives with a certain freedom.
    • Program notes for a Pasadena Playhouse production of Stairs to the Roof (1947)
  • I never saw a more beautiful woman, enormous eyes, skin the color of Devonshire cream.
    • After meeting Anna Magnani, as quoted in Tennessee Williams : Rebellious Puritan (1961) by Nancy Marie Patterson Tischler, p. 175
  • Most of the confidence which I appear to feel, especially when influenced by noon wine, is only a pretense.
    • "I am widely regarded as the ghost of a writer," 1977 essay, from New Selected Essays: Where I Live, ed. John S. Bak and John Lahr (New Directions Publishing, 2009)
  • The theatre is a place where one has time for the problems of people to whom one would show the door if they came to one's office for a job.
    • Quoted in "Tennessee Williams" in Profiles (1990) by Kenneth Tynan (first published as a magazine article in February 1956)

Stairs to the Roof (1941)

  • A Prayer for the Wild at Heart That Are Kept in Cages
    • This is the subtitle of the play

The Glass Menagerie (1944)

In memory everything seems to happen to music.
I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.
You — well, you're — Blue Roses!
  • In memory everything seems to happen to music.
    • Tom (As Narrator Scene One)
  • Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.
    • Tom, as Narrator, in Scene One
  • Animals have sections in their stomachs which enable them to digest food without mastication, but human beings are supposed to chew their food before they swallow it down… So chew your food and give your salivary glands a chance to function!
    • Amanda, Scene One
  • Mother, when you're disappointed, you get that awful suffering look on your face, like the picture of Jesus' mother in the museum!
    • Laura, Scene Two
  • I know so well what becomes of unmarried women who aren't prepared to occupy a position. I've seen such pitiful cases in the South — barely tolerated spinsters living upon the grudging patronage of sister's husband or brother's wife! — stuck away in some little mouse-trap of a room — encouraged by one in-law to visit another — little birdlike women without any nest — eating the crust of humility all their life! Is that the future that we've mapped out for ourselves?
    • Amanda, Scene Two
  • Why you're not crippled, you just have a little defect — hardly noticeable, even! When people have some slight disadvantage like that, they cultivate other things to make up for it — develop charm — and vivacity — and — charm!
    • Amanda, Scene Two
  • I took that horrible novel back to the library — yes! That hideous book by that insane Mr. Lawrence. I cannot control the output of diseased minds or people who cater to them — BUT I WON'T ALLOW SUCH FILTH BROUGHT INTO MY HOUSE! No, no, no, no, no!
    • Amanda, Scene Three
  • Every time you come in yelling that God damn "Rise and Shine!" "Rise and Shine!" I say to myself, "How lucky dead people are!"
    • Tom, Scene Three
  • Man is by instinct a lover, a hunter, a fighter, and none of those instincts are given much play at the warehouse!
    • Tom, Scene Four
  • You are the only young man that I know of who ignores the fact that the future becomes the present, the present the past and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don't plan for it!
    • Amanda, Scene Five
  • All pretty girls are a trap, a pretty trap, and men expect them to be.
    • Amanda, Scene Six
  • Yes, movies! Look at them — All of those glamorous people — having adventures — hogging it all, gobbling the whole thing up! You know what happens? People go to the movies instead of moving! Hollywood characters are supposed to have all the adventures for everybody in America, while everybody in America sits in a dark room and watches them have them! Yes, until there's a war. That's when adventure becomes available to the masses! Everyone's dish, not only Gable's! Then the people in the dark room come out of the dark room to have some adventures themselves — Goody, goody! — It's our turn now, to go to the south Sea Island — to make a safari — to be exotic, far-off! — But I'm not patient. I don't want to wait till then. I'm tired of the movies and I am about to move!
    • Tom, Scene Six
  • All of my gentlemen callers were sons of planters and of course I assumed that I would be married to one and raise my family on a large piece of land with plenty of servants. But man proposes — and woman accepts the proposal! — To vary that old, old saying a little bit — I married no planter! I married a man who worked for the telephone company!
    • Amanda, Scene Six
  • Shakespeare probably wrote a poem on that light bill, Mrs. Wingfield.
    • Jim, Scene Seven
  • I believe in the future of television! I wish to be ready to go up right along with it. Therefore I'm planning to get in on the ground floor. In fact I've already made the right connections and all that remains is for the industry itself to get under way! Full steam — Knowledge — Zzzzzp! Money — Zzzzzp! — Power!
    • Jim, Scene Seven
  • I'll just imagine he had an operation. The horn was removed to make him feel less — freakish! Now he will feel more at home with the other horses, the ones that don't have horns…
    • Laura, Scene Seven
  • I wish you were my sister. I'd teach you to have some confidence in yourself. The different people are not like other people, but being different is nothing to be ashamed of. Because other people are not such wonderful people. They're one hundred times one thousand. You're one times one! They walk all over the earth. You just stay here. They're common as — weeds, but — you — well, you're — Blue Roses!
    • Jim, Scene Seven
  • Things have a way of turning out so badly.
    • Amanda, Scene Seven
  • You don't know things anywhere! You live in a dream; you manufacture illusions!
    • Amanda, Scene Seven
  • Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be! I reach for a cigarette, I cross the street, I run into the movies or a bar, I buy a drink, I speak to the nearest stranger — anything that can blow your candles out! — for nowadays the world is lit by lightning! Blow out your candles Laura — and so goodbye…
    • Tom, Scene Seven

Summer and Smoke (1948)

  • Eternity!—Didn't it give you the cold shivers?
    • Alma, Prologue
  • The tables have turned, yes, the tables have turned with a vengeance! You've come around to my old way of thinking and I to yours like two people exchanging a call on each other at the same time, and each one finding the other one gone out, the door locked against him and no one to answer the bell!
    • Alma, Scene Eleven
  • You'll be surprised how infinitely merciful they are. The prescription number is 96814. I think of it as the telephone number of God!
    • Alma, Scene Twelve

Camino Real (1953)

  • When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone.
  • I know this place. ... Here it is on the chart. Look, it says here: "Continue until you come to the square of a walled town which is the end of the Camino Real and the beginning of the Camino Real. Halt there," it says, "and turn back, Traveler, for the spring of humanity has gone dry in this place...
    • Sancho
  • You said, "They're harmless dreamers and they're loved by the people." — "What," I asked you, "is harmless about a dreamer, and what," I asked you, "is harmless about the love of the people? — Revolution only needs good dreamers who remember their dreams."

Suddenly Last Summer (1958)

  • We saw the Encantadas, but on the Encantadas we saw something Melville hadn't written about.
    • Mrs. Venable, Scene One
  • And the sand all alive, all alive, as the hatched sea-turtles made their dash for the sea, while the birds hovered and swooped to attack and hovered and—swooped to attack! They were diving down on the hatched sea-turtles, turning them over to expose their soft undersides, tearing the undersides open and rending and eating their flesh.
    • Mrs. Venable, Scene One
  • Well, now I've said it, my son was looking for God. I mean for a clear image of Him. He spent that whole blazing equatorial day in the crow's nest of the schooner watching that thing on the beach of the Encantadas till it was too dark to see it, and when he came back down the rigging, he said, Well, now I've seen Him!—and he meant God . . .
    • Mrs. Venable, Scene One

The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore (1963)

  • We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.
    • Christopher

Misattributed

  • Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.
    • Actually by the Chinese philosopher, educator and popular lecturer Dr. Tehyi Hsieh, Chinese epigrams inside out, and proverbs, 1948.
  • Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it ... Success is shy — it won't come out while you're watching.
    • No known citation to Williams. Attributed in Quote Unquote (A Handbook of Quotations), 2005, MP Singh, Lotus Press.

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