Tennessee Williams: Plays 1937-1955

Tennessee Williams: Plays 1937-1955




Tennessee Williams's explosive, often violent, plays shattered conventional proprieties and transformed the American stage. They inspired some of the most famous productions and performances in theatrical and film history, and they continue to grip audiences all over the world. Now, in an authoritative two-volume edition, The Library of America collects the plays that define Williams's extraordinary range and achievement. This first volume begins with the stunning rediscovered plays of Williams's early career: Spring Storm, a tragedy of provincial longing that prefigures the mood and language of his later work, and Not About Nightingales, a stark prison drama, produced in 1998 to international acclaim, that resounds with the playwright's outraged idealism. With the autobiographical The Glass Menagerie in 1944, Williams attained what he later called "the catastrophe of success," a success made all the greater by A Streetcar Named Desire, his most famous play and one of the most influential works of modern American literature.

Forging an idiom that uniquely blended lyricism and brutality, a tragic sense of life and a genius for comic observation, he continued to revolutionize the American theater with a series of masterpieces: the poignant and melancholy Summer and Smoke, the light-hearted erotic comedy The Rose Tattoo, the sprawling and surrealistic Camino Real, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the Pulitzer Prize–winning portrayal of a ruthless family struggle. This volume also contains Battle of Angels (an early version of Orpheus Descending), and a selection of Williams's one-act plays, including 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, The Property Is Condemned, and I Rise in Flame, Cried the Phoenix, a meditation on the life and work of D. H. Lawrence.

This edition includes a newly researched chronology of Tennessee Williams's life, explanatory notes (including cast lists of many of the original productions), and an essay on the texts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781883011864
Publisher: Library of America
Publication date: 10/28/2000
Series: Library of America Series
Pages: 975
Product dimensions: 5.15(w) x 8.15(h) x 1.35(d)

About the Author

This volume is edited by Mel Gussow (1933–2005), who was a drama critic, a cultural writer at The New York Times, and author of several books, including Edward Albee: A Singular Journey, and by Kenneth Holditch, professor emeritus at the University of New Orleans, editor since 1989 of the Tennessee Williams Journal, and the author of In Old New Orleans.

Table of Contents

Plays 1937-1955Spring 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
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

Note on the Texts

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