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Tennessee Williams: Plays 1957-1980 (Library of America) Hardcover – October 1, 2000
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Williams was able to create complex, vibrant plays which gave intense life to all of the contradictions, nastiness, dysfunction and beauty of American life and families. America has never produced a more honest or sincere playwright. His characters are always searching for ways to hang on to their humanity as the forces of repression and authoritarianism threaten to swallow them up or destroy them.
But above all else, Williams' dialogue is superbly, sublimely poetic. For Williams, the drama is in language itself, and no one has ever used words to greater effect than Tennessee Williams. Both Library of America volumes of Williams' plays are essential reading for people interested in theatre, America, and/or the possibilities of hope and grace in turbulent times.
The Library of America has in two volumes,Plays 1937-1955 and Plays 1957-1980, contain in two volumes most of the major and many of the minor plays that Tennessee Williams wrote.
It is much easier to buy two volumes for your library and reading than to buy them one at a time as I did and have a separate bookcase just for his works.
This volume starts with Orpheus Descending (also known as the Fugitive Kind)and continues with twelve additional plays published before his death. The posthumously published plays are excluded. Also, if there are multiple versions of a play, it includes one version, usually the playwrite's favorite. It includes: Suddenly Last Summer; Sweet Bird of Youth, Night of the Iguana, and plays that most would not recognize unless a movie was made of the same name as Period of Adjustment. However it does include titles that were made into movies with different titles.
I recommend to the person who does not have an obsessive compulsive desire to have his complete works that they buy this volume and its companion, Plays 1937-1955.
Williams was a romantic, heavily autobiographical writer. His works are lyrical, poetical, and often florid. They explore themes of loneliness, wildness and nonconformity, and the tension between sensuality and repression. A romantic, personal writer must find a way to project his own experiences in order to succeed. At his best, Williams is able to universalize his inner life and to speak to the human condition. During his lifetime and thereafter, many people criticized his works for their lurid sexuality and their violence. Most but not all of Williams' plays have Southern settings, particularly in Mississippi or New Orleans.
The works in this volume fall into roughly two groups. The first group includes the works written between 1957 -- 1961 in the broad, naturalistically romantic voice for which Williams is best remembered. These plays include "Orpheus Descending", "Suddenly Last Summer", "Sweet Bird of Youth" and "The Night of the Iguana" together with the comedy "Period of Adjustment".Read more ›
He has a great affection for all of his characters from Blanche DuBois to Maxine, to Alma, to Maggie 'the Cat". His male characters seem to be drawn more to everyday types, though ones who are searching, or tortured by love. Tennessee is a national treasure, his "way with words" unparalleled, and truly THE only great American playright.
Just a suggestion....there is another review posted here on this book by some person from Utah. Even though this person claims he read the book, if he did, he just did NOT get any of Tennessee's stories or plays at all. DO NOT GIVE THE "UTAH" REVIEW OF THE WORKS OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS ANY CREDENCE.
If you have nothing else yet written by Williams, this is a great place to start. Also highly recommend his collection of Short Stories, as well as his collection of Poetry.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The selected plays are all fascinatingly crafted, the binding is well done and the font, type and page material all make for easy reading so I am very pleased and look forward to... Read morePublished on July 16, 2013 by R. R. Harris
This must be in your collection.
The Red Fur Room
A novel based on a true story. Read more
Contains many of TW's later and more abstract works. The book is bound well, containing a ribbon placeholder. A must have for aspiring theater majors.Published on May 27, 2011 by GSN
My review refers to the two Ten Williams volumes of the LoA.
I love the LoA. The books give me the supreme pleasure in reading. Read more
I, for one, worship the pulp Tennesse Williams typed upon, but I think Mark E. Baxter's review below might just give Tenn himself a run for his money when it comes to audaciously... Read morePublished on January 30, 2007 by C. Green