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Five O'Clock Angel: Letters of Tennessee Williams to Maria St. Just, 1948-1982 Hardcover – May 12, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tennessee Williams and Maria Britneva met in London in 1948 and remained close friends and correspondents until the former's death in 1983. The Russian emigre, later Lady St. Just, was someone he could confide in and laugh with. Few of her letters to him have survived, but hundreds of Williams's letters to her are printed here with her comments, recollections and diary entries. He discusses his plays and their characters, productions at home and abroad, travels, relatives, colleagues, lovers, friends--Claire Bloom, Marlon Brando, Carson McCullers, Anna Magnani, Anthony Quinn, Vanessa Redgrave and Gore Vidal among them--and also talks about his dependence on alcohol and drugs, his fears and satisfactions, depressions and passions. Williams, however, was not one of the great literary letter-writers, and this collection will likely appeal only to his enthusiasts. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 407 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred Knopf; 1st edition (May 12, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394564278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394564272
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,082,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983), one of the 20th century's most superb writers, was also one of its most successful and prolific. His classic works include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, Summer and Smoke, Camino Real, Sweet Bird of Youth, Night of the Iguana, Orpheus Descending, and The Rose Tattoo.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shannon L. Yarbrough VINE VOICE on August 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The computer killed the art of letter writing, or I should say the internet did with its remarkable means of communication via email. I'm guilty of it myself these days though I do share a regular email exchange with the person who gave me this book and I print and keep a paper copy of every email from her for this very reason.

Don't believe me? When's the last time you printed a photograph you took with your cell phone? How often do you go back and reread old tweets on Twitter or messages on Facebook? Does your Email "Trash Bin" have more stuff in it than your "Saved" emails? When's the last time you mailed someone a handwritten letter or even a birthday card? Chances are your answers to these questions are very small numbers. No worries. I'm just as guilty as you are.

But from the late 40s till his death in the early 80s, Tennessee Williams exchanged letters with his dear friend Maria St. Just. They met at a party in 1948 and a life-long friendship ensued from there.
This book is a collection almost entirely of his letters to her, with a few of her own letters to him and other commentary in between.

Through his words, we see a young jet setter Williams traveling the country to parties, vacations, and opening nights of his plays. We also meet a drunken, frail, and drugged out Williams completely dependent upon Maria for guidance and companionship. And lastly, we see a sad lonely Williams with surprisingly not much to say.

Some of the highlights are all the other characters in Williams' life who stop by: Gore Vidal, Isherwood and his young lover Don Bachardy, Marlon Brando, Tennessee's sister Rose, Truman Capote, Andy Warhol, and many more.

After Williams' death, Maria became a harsh co-executor of his estate.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
I love this book. It is a collection of letters primarily from Tennessee Williams to Maria St. Just. Maria and Tenn (as he is known to close friends) have a long-standing friendship and close connection. Only a few letters of Maria to Tennessee survive but Tennessee's letters reveal an intimate portrait of Tennessee's world, family, loves and life.
I felt I was a part of this wonderful world of Tenn in Florida, Tenn and his mother & sister, Tenn in Italy and London, Tenn and his companion, Frank ("the Horse") and all that makes up Tennessee's talented world.
Maria St. Just has provided her insights and notes about the letters.
I wish this book was still in print! I would love a copy for my personal delectation and collection -- for the letters are DELICIOUS.
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