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Memoirs

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Overview

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...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Williams's thoroughly honest memoir, with its open talk of homosexuality, alcoholism/drug addiction, and mental illness, was quite the eyeopener in 1975. His work and partying made him buddies with many famous writers and actors of the day (Capote, Brando, etc.), whom he discusses. Besides all the gossip, the book also provides insight into one of the world's great dramatists. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811216692
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/30/2006
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 561,083
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) is the acclaimed author of many books of letters, short stories, poems, essays, and a large collection of plays, including The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Camino Real, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Orpheus Descending, The Night of the Iguana, and The Rose Tattoo.

Director, screenwriter, and well-known raconteur of American kitsch and camp, John Waters' films include Pink Flamingos and Cecil B. Demented. In 2002 his film Hairspray was made into a hit Broadway musical.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Tennessee: The Passion Beneath the Plays

    The writer gives us an unrelenting, unabashed account of his romantic exploits, as well as valuable insight into some of his most intimate relationships, including those with his beloved sister, Rose, the wonderful actress, Anna Magnani, whose actions might make you blush, his lover and companion of 14 years, Frank Merlo, and his greatest love, the theatre. Although he doesn't delve into his plays much, he gives a clear indication of which have impressed and satisfied him the most. The book reads like a diary, except there is the added privilege of photos. If you've ever come to the end of a Tennessee Williams play and wanted more, here's more. A lot more. Pick up the book and satisfy your curiosity.

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