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The Pulitzer Prize and Drama Critics Circle Award winning play—reissued with an introduction by Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman and The Crucible), and Williams' essay "The World I Live In."
It is a very short list of 20th-century American plays that continue to have the same power and impact as when they first appeared—57 years after its Broadway premiere, Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire is one of those plays. The story famously recounts how the faded and promiscuous Blanche DuBois is pushed over the edge by her sexy and brutal brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski. Streetcar launched the careers of Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden, and solidified the position of Tennessee Williams as one of the most important young playwrights of his generation, as well as that of Elia Kazan as the greatest American stage director of the '40s and '50s.
Who better than America's elder statesman of the theater, Williams' contemporary Arthur Miller, to write as a witness to the lightning that struck American culture in the form of A Streetcar Named Desire? Miller's rich perspective on Williams' singular style of poetic dialogue, sensitive characters, and dramatic violence makes this a unique and valuable new edition of A Streetcar Named Desire. This definitive new edition will also include Williams' essay "The World I Live In," and a brief chronology of the author's life.
"The Pulitzer Prize and Drama Critics Circle Award winning play."
A Streetcar Named Desire is the tale of a catastrophic confrontation between fantasy and reality, embodied in the characters of Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski. Fading southern belle Blanche DuBois is adrift in the modern world. When she arrives to stay with her sister Stella in a crowded, boisterous corner of New Orleans, her delusions of grandeur bring her into conflict with Stella's crude, brutish husband Stanley Kowalski. Eventually their violent collision course causes Blanche's fragile sense of identity to crumble, threatening to destroy her sanity and her one chance of happiness.
About the Author:
Tennessee Williams was an American playwright and author of many stage classics.
After years of obscurity, he became suddenly famous with 'The Glass Menagerie', closely reflecting his own unhappy family background. This heralded a string of successes, including 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', 'Orpheus Descending', and 'Sweet Bird of Youth'. His later work attempted a new style that did not appeal to audiences, and alcohol and drug dependence further inhibited his creative output.
Williams adapted much of his best work for the cinema, and also wrote short stories, poetry, essays and a volume of memoirs. In 1979, four years before his death, he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
The definitive text of this American classic—reissued with an introduction by Edward Albee (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and A Delicate Balance) and Williams' essay "Person-to-Person."
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof first heated up Broadway in 1955 with its gothic American story of brothers vying for their dying father's inheritance amid a whirlwind of sexuality, untethered in the person of Maggie the Cat. The play also daringly showcased the burden of sexuality repressed in the agony of her husband, Brick Pollitt. In spite of the public controversy Cat stirred up, it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Drama Critics Circle Award for that year. Williams, as he so often did with his plays, rewrote Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for many years—the present version was originally produced at the American Shakespeare Festival in 1974 with all the changes that made Williams finally declare the text to be definitive, and was most recently produced on Broadway in the 2003-04 season. This definitive edition also includes Williams' essay "Person-to-Person," Williams' notes on the various endings, and a short chronology of the author's life. One of America's greatest living playwrights, as well as a friend and colleague of Williams, Edward Albee has written a concise introduction to the play from a playwright's perspective, examining the candor, sensuality, power, and impact of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof then and now.
For the "old crocodile," as Williams called himself late in life, the past was always present, and so it is with his continual shifting and intermingling of times, places, and memories as he weaves this story.
When Memoirs was first published in 1975, it created quite a bit of turbulence in the mediathough long self-identified as a gay man, Williams' candor about his love life, sexual encounters, and drug use was found shocking in and of itself, and such revelations by America's greatest living playwright were called "a raw display of private life" by The New York Times Book Review. As it turns out, thirty years later, Williams' look back at his life is not quite so scandalous as it once seemed; he recalls his childhood in Mississippi and St. Louis, his prolonged struggle as a "starving artist," the "overnight" success of The Glass Menagerie in 1945, the death of his long-time companion Frank Merlo in 1962, and his confinement to a psychiatric ward in 1969 and subsequent recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, all with the same directness, compassion, and insight that epitomize his plays.
And, of course, Memoirs is filled with Williams' amazing friends from the worlds of stage, screen, and literature as heoften hilariously, sometimes fondly, sometimes notremembers them: Laurette Taylor, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Elia Kazan, Marlon Brando, Vivian Leigh, Carson McCullers, Anna Magnani, Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, and Tallulah Bankhead to name a few. And now film director John Waters, well acquainted with shocking the American public, has written an introduction that gives some perspective on the various reactions to Tennessee's Memoirs, while also paying tribute to a fellow artist who inspired many with his integrity and endurance.
Tennessee Williams's first novel
The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone is vintage Tennessee Williams. Published in 1950, his first novel was acclaimed by Gore Vidal as "splendidly written, precise, short, complete, and fine." It is the story of a wealthy, fiftyish American widow recently a famous stage beauty, but now "drifting." The novel opens soon after her husband's death and her retirement from the theatre, as Mrs. Stone tries to adjust to her aimless new life in Rome. She is adjusting, too, to aging. ("The knowledge that her beauty was lost had come upon her recently and it was still occasionally forgotten.") With poignant wit and his own particular brand of relish, Williams charts her drift into an affair with a cruel young gigolo: "As compelling, as fascinating, and as technically skillful as his play" (Publishers Weekly).
Two of Tennessee Williams's most revered dramas in a single paperback edition for the first time.
Orpheus Descending is a love story, a plea for spiritual and artistic freedom, as well as a portrait of racism and intolerance. When charismatic drifter Valentine Xavier arrives in a Mississippi Delta town with his guitar and snakeskin jacket, he becomes a trigger for hatred and a magnet for three outcast souls: storekeeper Lady Torrance, “lewd vagrant” Carol Cutrere, and religious visionary Vee Talbot.
Suddenly Last Summer, described by its author as a “short morality play,” has become one of his most notorious works due in no small part to the film version starring Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, and Montgomery Clift that shocked audiences in 1959. A menacing tale of madness, jealousy, and denial,the horrors in Suddenly Last Summer build to a heart-stopping conclusion.
With perceptive new introductions by playwright Martin Sherman — he reframes Orpheus Descending in a political context and explores the psychology and sensationalism surrounding Suddenly Last Summer — this volume also offers Williams’s related essay, “The Past, the Present, and the Perhaps,” and a chronology of the playwright’s life and works.
Now with an insightful new introduction, the author's original Foreword, and the one-act play, The Enemy: Time, on which Sweet Bird of Youth was based.
Tennessee Williams knew how to tell a good tale, and this steamy, wrenching play about a faded movie star, Alexandra Del Lago, and about the lost innocence and corruption of Chance Wayne, reveals the dark side of the American dreams of youth and fame. Distinguished American playwright Lanford Wilson has written an insightful Introduction for this edition. Also included are Williams’ original Foreword to the play; the one-act play The Enemy: Time—the germ for the full-length version, published here for the first time; an essay by Tennessee Williams scholar, Colby H. Kullman; and a chronology of the author’s life.
Now published for the first time as a trade paperback with a new introduction and the short story on which it was based.
Williams wrote: “This is a play about love in its purest terms.” It is also Williams’s robust and persuasive plea for endurance and resistance in the face of human suffering. The earthy widow Maxine Faulk is proprietress of a rundown hotel at the edge of a Mexican cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean where the defrocked Rev. Shannon, his tour group of ladies from a West Texas women’s college, the self-described New England spinster Hannah Jelkes and her ninety-seven-year-old grandfather, Jonathan Coffin (“the world’s oldest living and practicing poet”), a family of grotesque Nazi vacationers, and an iguana tied by its throat to the veranda, all find themselves assembled for a rainy and turbulent night.
This is the first trade paperback edition of The Night of the Iguana and comes with an Introduction by award-winning playwright Doug Wright, the author’s original Foreword, the short story “The Night of the Iguana” which was the germ for the play, plus an essay by noted Tennessee Williams scholar, Kenneth Holditch.
“I’m tired of conducting services in praise and worship of a senile delinquent—yeah, that’s what I said, I shouted! All your Western theologies, the whole mythology of them, are based on the concept of God as a senile delinquent and, by God, I will not and cannot continue to conduct services in praise and worship of this…this…this angry, petulant old man.”
—The Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon, from The Night of the Iguana
Tennessee Williams's lesser-known one-act plays reveal a tantalising and fascinating perspective to one of the world's most important playwrights.
Written between 1934 and 1980, the plays of the very young writer, then of the successful Tennessee Williams, and finally of the troubled man of the 1970s, this volume offers a panoramic yet detailed view of the themes, demons, and wit of this iconic playwright.
The volume depicts American life during the Great Depression and after, populated by a hopelessly hopeful chorus girl, a munitions manufacturer ensnared in a love triangle, a rural family that deals "justice" on its children, an overconfident mob dandy, a poor couple who quarrel to vanquish despair, a young "spinster" enthralled by the impulse of rebellion, and, in The Magic Tower, a passionate artist and his wife whose youth and optimism are not enough to protect their 'dream marriage.'
This collection gathers some of Williams's most exuberant early work and includes one-acts that he would later expand to powerful full-length dramas: 'The Pretty Trap,' a cheerful take on The Glass Menagerie, and 'Interior: Panic,' a precursor to A Streetcar Named Desire.
Plays included are: At Liberty, The Magic Tower, Me, Vashya, Curtains for the Gentleman, In Our Profession, Every Twenty Minutes, Honor the Living, The Cast of the Crushed Petunias, Moony's Kid Don't Cry, The Dark Room, The Pretty Trap, Interior: Panic, Kingdom of Earth, I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark on Sundays and Some Problems for The Moose Lodge. The volume also features a foreword by Terence McNally.
Published as a trade paperback for the first time, with a new introduction by the acclaimed playwright John Patrick Shanley (Doubt) and the one-act on which The Rose Tattoo was based.
The Rose Tattoo is larger than life—a fable, a Greek tragedy, a comedy, a melodrama—it is a love letter from Tennessee Williams to anyone who has ever been in love or ever will be. Professional widow and dressmaker Serafina delle Rosa has withdrawn from the world, locking away her heart and her sixteen-year-old daughter Rosa. Then one day a man with the sexy body of her late Sicilian husband and the face of a village idiot, Mangiacavallo (Italian for “eat a horse”), stumbles into her life and clumsily unlocks Serafina’s fiery anger, sense of betrayal, pride, wit, passion, and eventually her capacious love.
The original production of The Rose Tattoo won Tony Awards for best play and for the stars, Eli Wallach and Maureen Stapleton. Anna Magnani received the Academy Award as Best Actress for the 1955 film version.
This edition of The Rose Tattoo has an Introduction by playwright John Patrick Shanley, the author’s original foreword, the one-act The Dog Enchanted by the Divine View that was the germ for the play, and an essay by noted Tennessee Williams scholar Jack Barbera.
A classic play by Tennessee Williams in a definitive, author-approved edition.
Reality and fantasy are interwoven with terrifying power as two actors on tour—brother and sister—find themselves deserted by the trope in a decrepit "state theatre in an unknown state." Faced (perhaps) by an audience expecting a performance, they enact "The Two-Character Play"—an illusions within an illusion, and "out cry" from isolation, panic and fear. "I think it is my most beautiful play since Streetcar," Tennessee Williams said, "and I've never stopped working on it....It is a cri de coeur, but then all creative work,all life, in a sense is a cri de coeur."
In the course of its evolution, several earlier versions of The Two-Character Play have been produced. The first of them was presented in 1967 in London and Chicago and brought out in 1969 by New Directions in a signed limited edition. The next, staged in 1973 in New York under the title Out Cry, was published by New Directions in 1973 The third version (New York, 1975), again titled The Two-Character Play, is the one Tennessee Williams wished to include in New Directions' The Theatre of Tennessee Williams series. It is this version which is presented in this ND paperback.
This definitive collection establishes Williams as a major American fiction writer of the twentieth century.
Tennessee Williams’ Collected Stories combines the four short-story volumes published during Williams’ lifetime with previously unpublished or uncollected stories. Arranged chronologically, the forty-nine stories, when taken together with the memoir of his father that serves as a preface, not only establish Williams as a major American fiction writer of the twentieth century, but also, in Gore Vidal’s view, constitute the real autobiography of Williams’ "art and inner life."