Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh

By John Lahr

Winner of the nationwide booklet Critics Circle Award in Biography and Finalist for the nationwide ebook Award.

The definitive biography of America's maximum playwright from the prestigious drama critic of The New Yorker.

John Lahr has produced a theater biography like no different. Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh supplies intimate entry to the brain of 1 of the main magnificent dramatists of his century, whose performs reshaped the yank theater and the nation's experience of itself. This astute, deeply researched biography sheds a mild on Tennessee Williams's warring kin, his guilt, his artistic triumphs and screw ups, his sexuality and diverse affairs, his misreported loss of life, even the shenanigans surrounding his estate.

With bright cameos of the formative impacts in Williams's life―his fierce, belittling father Cornelius; his puritanical, domineering mom Edwina; his demented sister Rose, who used to be lobotomized on the age of thirty-three; his cherished grandfather, the Reverend Walter Dakin―Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh is as a lot a biography of the guy who created A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, and Cat on a sizzling Tin Roof because it is a trenchant exploration of Williams’s performs and the tortured technique of bringing them to level and screen.

The portrait of Williams himself is unforgettable: a virgin until eventually he was once twenty-six, he had serial gay affairs thereafter in addition to long-time, bruising relationships with Pancho Gonzalez and Frank Merlo. With compassion and verve, Lahr explores how Williams's relationships expert his paintings and the way the ensuing luck introduced turmoil to his own life.

Lahr captures not only Williams's tempestuous public personality but additionally his behind the scenes existence, the place his agent Audrey wooden and the director Elia Kazan play significant roles, and Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Bette Davis, Maureen Stapleton, Diana Barrymore, and Tallulah Bankhead have scintillating walk-on elements. it is a biography of the top order: a publication in regards to the significant American playwright of his time written via the most important American drama critic of his time.

Winner of the 2015 Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography
American Academy of Arts and Letters' Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award
Chicago Tribune most sensible Books of 2014
USA Today 10 Books We enjoyed Reading
Washington Post 10 most sensible Books of 2014

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Drizzle puss self”: N, Oct. 6, 1943, p. three. “spiritual dislocation”: NSE, p. 33. “Once I ordered a sirloin steak”: Ibid. “I approximately went crazy”: Williams to Guthrie McClintic, might 23, 1945, L1, p. 560. “I have met the next here”: Williams to Audrey wooden, June 20, 1945, L2, p. 7. “Tennessee Williams, Writer”: Lyle Leverich, Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams (New York: W. W. Norton, 1995), p. 280. “About an hour after my arrival”: Williams to Audrey wooden, Dec. 14, 1945, HRC. “no telephone”: Ibid. “I am switching again and forth”: Williams to Audrey wooden, Jan.

I locate it super tough to check Cornell as a lady who's less than the domination of her mom, father, church, and at last a guy she loves yet who doesn’t love her. nonetheless, i'll think a lady like Helen Hayes or a more youthful model of her during this main issue. ” On December 1, Williams confided to his diary: “Still the following, nonetheless engaged on ‘Chart’. occasionally it sort of feels only a grade or more desirable to a radio soap-opera. i've got dedicated a few amazing lapses of style during this play. ” He extra, “This week coming—Margo will stopover at right here one evening on her strategy to Dallas.

Sixty two. “Fortunately estate values”: Williams to Cheryl Crawford, Nov. 1950, L2, p. 359. “You can’t run a Puritan”: Williams to Josephine Healy, Feb. 27, 1951, Columbia. “the unmentionable article”: Williams to Brooks Atkinson, June 12, 1951, L2, p. 384. “I needs to let you know that i've got lived”: Williams to Brooks Atkinson, Apr. three, 1953, ibid. , pp. 469–70. “Insensitivity”: Mervyn Rothstein, “Remembering Tennessee Williams as a steady Genius of Empathy,” manhattan instances, may well 30, 1990. “Oh Laura, Laura”: LOA1, p. 465.

306. ) Of his 1953 disorder, Williams wrote, “It is relentless, consistent, burning, aching. Frightens & appals one to imagine what distress, what discomfort, bodies are in a position to. And this one the sort of sordid one, too. it could actually at the least be in a good position. ” (N, Dec. 29, 1953, p. 609. ) “this discomfort eclipses thought”: N, Dec. 28, 1953, p. 609. “a nice hurricane has stripped me bare”: Ibid. , Aug. 19, 1953, p. 583. “pinkies”: N, July four, 1958, p. 713. “All hell is descended on me”: N, Dec. 29, 1953, p. 609. “not auspiciously”: Ibid.

In a feeling all performs are ghost plays”: Tennessee Williams, outfits for a summer time lodge: A Ghost Play (New York: New instructions, 1983), p. eighty four. “Zelda is the type”: Michiko Kakutani, “‘Ghosts’ of the Fitzgeralds Rehearsing less than the Watchful Eye of Williams,” big apple instances, Jan. eight, 1980. “the brutality of the unconscious”: As quoted in Tennessee Williams, “In mask Outrageous and Austere” (unpublished), JLC. “In Tennessee’s work”: Kakutani, “‘Ghosts,’” Jan. eight, 1980. “Scott used Zelda’s life”: Ibid. Walter Kerr on Geraldine Page’s Zelda: “She appears like a gypsy moth that’s been placed via a shredder, leaving basically her crimson ballet dancing slippers kind of intact.

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