Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams

Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh

Book - 2014
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WW Norton
John Lahr has produced a theater biography like no other. Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh gives intimate access to the mind of one of the most brilliant dramatists of his century, whose plays reshaped the American theater and the nation's sense of itself. This astute, deeply researched biography sheds a light on Tennessee Williams's warring family, his guilt, his creative triumphs and failures, his sexuality and numerous affairs, his misreported death, even the shenanigans surrounding his estate.With vivid cameos of the formative influences in Williams's life—his fierce, belittling father Cornelius; his puritanical, domineering mother Edwina; his demented sister Rose, who was lobotomized at the age of thirty-three; his beloved grandfather, the Reverend Walter Dakin—Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh is as much a biography of the man who created A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as it is a trenchant exploration of Williams’s plays and the tortured process of bringing them to stage and screen.The portrait of Williams himself is unforgettable: a virgin until he was twenty-six, he had serial homosexual affairs thereafter as well as long-time, bruising relationships with Pancho Gonzalez and Frank Merlo. With compassion and verve, Lahr explores how Williams's relationships informed his work and how the resulting success brought turmoil to his personal life.Lahr captures not just Williams's tempestuous public persona but also his backstage life, where his agent Audrey Wood and the director Elia Kazan play major roles, and Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Bette Davis, Maureen Stapleton, Diana Barrymore, and Tallulah Bankhead have scintillating walk-on parts. This is a biography of the highest order: a book about the major American playwright of his time written by the major American drama critic of his time.Winner of the 2015 Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre BiographyAmerican Academy of Arts and Letters' Harold D. Vursell Memorial AwardChicago Tribune Best Books of 2014USA Today 10 Books We Loved ReadingWashington Post 10 Best Books of 2014
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography and Finalist for the National Book Award.The definitive biography of America's greatest playwright from the celebrated drama critic of The New Yorker.

Baker & Taylor
A biography of one of America's greatest playwrights describes his public persona as well as his personal life, including conflicts with his family, his sexuality and multiple affairs, and his misreported death.

Book News
John Lahr, the author of this biography of playwright Tenessee Williams, was one of the most influential theatre critics in the English language in the mid-late twentieth century, and is the author of many acclaimed books on theatre and criticism. This book began as the second volume of Lyle Leverich's chronological biography of Williams, Tom, as Leverich requested Lahr complete the book in the event of his death. However, Lahr is a critic, and this was correctly published as a stand-alone biography. It is not chronological, and focuses on evaluation of Williams' art. The man's life is mainly seen here as a means to shed light on his work and discuss the productions of his plays in his lifetime. Lahr is a skilled prose stylist and an expert on twentieth-century American theatrical life and its history (his father was vaudevillian Bert Lahr). He steers clear of both academic analysis and personal gossip. Williams' homosexuality is treated matter-of-factly, and if Lahr is not especially insightful about the social conditions Williams worked under, he cleaves to the theatrical habit of fully accepting people's differences without being overly interested in them. The book stays in the territory Lahr knows best; modernist theatre criticism and life in a 20th century theatre world centered on New York and London. It contains a center section of photographs, and there are images of Williams and productions of his plays throughout. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

& Taylor

A biography of one of America's most treasured playwrights describes the writer's public persona as well as his more personal life, including conflicts with his family, his sexuality and multiple affairs and even his misreported death. 35,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2014]
New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780393021240
Branch Call Number: B WILLIAMS 2014
Characteristics: xv, 765 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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kmehl Jul 07, 2015

ABC 9/2/15

Dec 10, 2014

John Lahr has written a brilliant, immensely insightful biography about Tennessee Williams the man; haunted, lonely, constantly seeking affirming relationships, and Tennessee Williams the superb playwright/poet who was one of the most important influences on theater in the 20th Century. Lahr, long-time drama critic for the New Yorker, writes with great feeling and understanding for his subject. He uses extensive quotes from Williams' memoirs and letters, which are often heart-wrenching and poetic. Lahr also analyzes Williams' numerous plays (non-academically), linking them to the playwright's tumultuous life. In addition he gives fascinating details about the writing, casting and production of these plays. This is a masterful, moving biography, and one of the best books ever about the theatre.


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