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Tennessee Williams - A Streetcar Named Desire

Autor /DenoZomma Dodano /20.03.2006

Tennessee Williams

* one of those playwrights who exploited his personal experience and feelings in his dramas
* proper name: Thomas Lanier Williams III
- friends in college called him Tennessee because of his Southern accent and father?s home state
* born Mar 26, 1911, died Feb 25, 1983

* he had a difficult childhood
- his father C.C. Williams, shoe salesman, was emotionally absent parent, tended to be vulgar and violent
- mother Edwina, was a Mississippi clergyman?s daughter prone to hysterical attacks ? quiet and rather delicate
- as Tennessee grew older, thanks, to him, the family moved 16 times in 10 years
* 1918 ? moved to Saint Louis, his family started to deteriorate
- father took up drinking and became abusive towards his children (thanks to him Tennessee?s sister, Rose went insane)

* he discovered his love for writing in 1929, when his essay won a national writing award in 1929 and was published in Smart Set magazine
* he studied journalism at the University of Missouri, but dropped in order to help his father by working in shoe factory
* 1938 ? entered University of Iowa, meanwhile he took many different part-time jobs in New Orleans, Jacksonville, Florida, and New York City (clerk, waiter, hotel elevator operator, teletype operator, and theatre usher)

* 1940 ? his first play staged in Boston, entitled Battle of Angels
- quickly withdrawn to harsh critical reception
* 1944 ? The Glass Menagerie in Chicago, then it was performed about 500 times in NYC
- this play established Williams? reputation of promising playwright
* 1947 ? A Streetcar named Desire, which won Pulitzer Prize
- 1951 ? film adaptation, directed by Elia Kazan, starring Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter and Vivien Leigh (who had the same role in first performance in 1947)
- it began the most prolific period of Tennessee?s writing

* his other major plays were:
- The Rose Tattoo (1950)
- Camino Real (1953)
- Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955) ? also won Pulitzer Prize
- Garden District (1957) - later became Suddenly Last Summer (1964)
- Orpheus Descending (1957) ? revised version of Battle of Angels, the first play
- The Night of the Iguana (1961)

* Williams fell in love with a man named Frank Merlo
* 1961 ? Merlo died from lung cancer, putting Williams in great depression
* he took up prescription drugs and alcohol

* after 10 years Tennessee recovered and produced more plays
- Small Craft Warnings (1972)
- Summer Hotel (1980)
* those plays revived his reputation, which declined to the depression and changes in the American theater

* died in February 24, 1983
- choked to death on the lid of a medicine bottle at the New York City hotel

A Streetcar named Desire

* tragedy, its premiere took place in 1947
* set in poor but lively, racially mixed area of New Orleans, Louisiana, where streetcars do not have numbers but names (e.g.

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