Tennessee Williams

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Tennessee Williams
Thomas Lanier Williams
Birthday
BirthplaceColumbus, Mississippi, United States
Died
NationalityAmerican

Williams, Tennessee

(Thomas Lanier Williams), 1911–83, American dramatist, b. Columbus, Miss., grad. State Univ. of Iowa, 1938. One of America's foremost 20th-century playwrights and the author of more than 70 plays, he achieved his first successes with the productions of The Glass Menagerie (1945) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1947; Pulitzer Prize). In these plays, as in many of his later works, Williams explores the intense passions and frustrations of a disturbed and frequently brutal society. Unable to write openly about his homosexuality in the 1950s and 60s, he displaced the imagined and experienced pleasures and pains of sexual relations from the autobiographical into nominally heterosexual dramas.

An eloquently symbolic poet of the theater, Williams is noted for his scenes of high dramatic tension and for his brilliant, often lyrical dialogue. He is perhaps most successful in his portraits of the hypersensitive and lonely Southern woman, such as Blanche in Streetcar, clutching at life, particularly at her memories of a grand past that no longer exists. His later plays, which never quite achieve the poignant immediacy of his first two successes, include Summer and Smoke (1948), The Rose Tattoo (1951; Tony Award), Camino Real (1953), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955; Pulitzer Prize), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), Period of Adjustment (1959), Night of the Iguana (1961), The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Any More (1963), The Seven Descents of Myrtle (1968), In the Bar of the Tokyo Hotel (1969), and Small Craft Warnings (1972).

A number of Williams's one-act plays were collected in 27 Wagons Full of Cotton (1946) and The American Blues (1948). He also wrote four collections of short fiction: One Arm and Other Stories (1948), Hard Candy (1954), The Knightly Quest (1969), and Eight Mortal Ladies Possessed (1974); a novel, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1950); two volumes of verse, In the Winter of Cities (1956) and Androgyne, Mon Amour (1977); and a number of film scripts, including one, Baby Doll (1956), based on two of his short plays.

Bibliography

See his Memoirs (1974, repr. 2006) and Notebooks (2007), ed. by M. B. Thornton; D. Windham, ed., Tennessee Williams's Letters to Donald Windham, 1940–1965 (1976) and A. J. Devlin and N. M. Tischler, ed., The Selected Letters of Tennessee Williams (2 vol., 2000–2004); A. J. Devlin, ed., Conversations with Tennessee Williams (1986); D. Spoto, The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams (1985, repr. 1997), D. Windham, As If: A Personal View of Tennessee Williams (1985), R. Boxill, Tennessee Williams (1987), R. Hayman, Tennessee Williams: Everyone Else Is an Audience (1993), L. Leverich, Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams (1995), and J. Lahr, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh (2014); critical studies by S. L. Falk (1962), F. Donahue (1964), E. M. Jackson (1965), I. Rogers (1976), J. Tharpe, ed. (1977), H. Rasky (1986), G. W. Crandell, ed. (1996), R. A. Martin, ed. (1997), O, C. Kolin, ed. (2002), R. F. Voss, ed. (2002), M. Paller (2005), and H. Bloom, ed. (rev. ed. 2007).

Williams, Tennessee

 

(real name Thomas Lanier Williams). Born Mar. 26,1914, in Columbus, Miss. American playwright.

Williams studied at the universities of Missouri and Iowa between 1935 and 1938. As a playwright, he shows a critical perception of reality, as in The Glass Menagerie (1944), and a particular sympathy for the doomed protagonists of such plays as A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) and Orpheus Descending (1957). The influence of naturalism and modernism, as well as of the idealist tendencies in modern philosophy, is especially evident in The Night of the Iguana (1961) and the plays in his collection Dragon Country (1970). In the staging of his works, Williams, who espouses the concept of a “plastic theater, ” makes prominent use of mise-en-scène, lighting, and musical effects to reinforce the text.

Williams also has written short stories, some of which have been collected in Eight Mortal Ladies Possessed (1974). In both theme and style, they are closely related to his dramatic works.

WORKS

Four Plays. London, 1956.
Five Plays. London, 1962.
In Russian translation:
“Stekliannyi zverinets” i eshche deviat’p’es. Moscow, 1967.
“Sladkogolosaia ptitsa iunosti.” Teatr, 1975, no. 12.

REFERENCES

Istoriia amerikanskoi literatury, part 2. Moscow, 1971.
Maxwell, G. Tennessee Williams and Friends. Cleveland-New York [1965],

Williams, Tennessee (b. Thomas Lanier Williams)

(1911–83) playwright; born in Columbus, Miss. From an old Tennessee family (he adopted his first name by 1939 while in New Orleans), he was raised under the influence of his clergyman-grandfather. Moving with his family to St. Louis in 1913, he went on to several colleges, graduating from the State University of Iowa in 1938. He moved around the country for many years, working at odd jobs while he wrote short plays and getting occasional productions in community theaters; in 1943 he briefly worked as a scriptwriter for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He gained sudden success with the New York production of The Glass Menagerie (1945) and his next and greatest success came with A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), which won a Pulitzer Prize. Although Williams' life was marked by personal disarray, mental stress, and drug addiction, he enjoyed long-term relationships with male companions and continued to be productive. In 1968 he converted to Catholicism. His later plays include Summer and Smoke (1948), The Rose Tattoo (1950), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955, Pulitzer Prize), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), and Night of the Iguana (1961). He also published two novels and a fair amount of poetry. Several of his plays were made into successful movies, but his later works were not well received and he became disaffected from the New York professional theater. He died by choking on the cap of a bottle of pills. His best work is distinguished by a poetry, intensity, and compassion that guarantee him a permanent place as a major artist-dramatist.
References in periodicals archive ?
La dramaturgia, por su parte, merece atencion especial: el de Dea Loher es un teatro que vuelve a reconquistar la palabra dramatica, la ilacion de personajes, historias, anecdotas y dramas personales; que de pronto recuerda a Chejov, pero tambien a Ibsen, a Pinter, a Tennesse Williams, a Arthur Miller, a Bergman y a pero que indudablemente marca la originalidad creadora de una dramaturgia que recupera la tradicion universal de la dramaturgia, desde la ruptura con los vanguardismos inanes.
Y, si de obras maestras hay que hablar, la historia no tiene mas remedio que reconocer en Un tranvia llamado Deseo a la obra cumbre de Elia Kazan, como es de su autor Tennesse Williams y lo fue tanto de la lengendaria Jessica Tandy (quien encarno a Blanche Dubois en escena) como de Vivien Leight quien la inmortalizo en el celuloide.
Con autores como Anton Chejov, Thomas Mann, Martin Luis Guzman, Ford Madox Ford, Aldous Huxley, Jorge Luis Borges, Arthur Miller y Arthur Koestler, Georges Bernanos, Tennesse Williams, Octavio Paz, James Joyce y Marguerite Yourcenar, entre otros.
El celebre dramaturgo Tennesse Williams explico que esta breve novela "es una de las obras mas puras y profundas concebidas con el sentido de lo terrible que es la oscura raiz desesperada de casi todo el arte moderno mas significativo, desde Guemica de Picasso hasta los dibujos humoristicos de Charles Adams".
Francisco Franco, director de Tennesse Williams (Un tranvia llamado Deseo), adaptador de Albert Camus (Caligula probablemente) y de Paul Auster (El cuaderno rojo y otras historias para ir a la cama), ahora toma la obra de Berman y logra llevar a cabo una puesta de dimensiones artistico/comerciales que han generado exito de publico (cosa poco frecuente ya en nuestro medio).
Albee estaba en vias de continuar una tradicion dramatica iniciada por escritores contemporaneos de la talla de Eugene O'Neill, Tennesse Williams y Arthur Miller, por solo citar a quienes conforman la mas notable trilogia de autores norteamericanos.