By John Lahr
Winner of the nationwide e-book Critics Circle Award in Biography and Finalist for the nationwide ebook Award.
The definitive biography of America's maximum playwright from the distinguished drama critic of The New Yorker.
John Lahr has produced a theater biography like no different. Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh provides intimate entry to the brain of 1 of the main marvelous dramatists of his century, whose performs reshaped the yank theater and the nation's experience of itself. This astute, deeply researched biography sheds a gentle on Tennessee Williams's warring kin, his guilt, his artistic triumphs and screw ups, his sexuality and diverse affairs, his misreported demise, even the shenanigans surrounding his estate.
With bright cameos of the formative affects in Williams's life―his fierce, belittling father Cornelius; his puritanical, domineering mom Edwina; his demented sister Rose, who was once lobotomized on the age of thirty-three; his loved grandfather, the Reverend Walter Dakin―Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh is as a lot a biography of the fellow who created A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, and Cat on a scorching Tin Roof because it is a trenchant exploration of Williams’s performs and the tortured means of bringing them to degree and screen.
The portrait of Williams himself is unforgettable: a virgin until eventually he used to be 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 educated 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 curtain 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 ebook concerning the significant American playwright of his time written by way of the foremost 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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Additional info for Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh
This is naturalistic performing of the main profound, spontaneous, unbroken continuity and relocating life,” he wrote. In later years, Williams could bear in mind the remainder of the solid as “pretty run-of-the-mill,” yet his reminiscence of Taylor’s peerless functionality by no means misplaced its luster. “Her expertise was once luminous in a fashion that passed the ordinary. there has been a rightness approximately her you can now not see beyond,” he wrote after she died in 1946. “Once shortly, just once shortly and never lengthy, the confusion and dimness approximately us so thickly is penetrated by means of a readability, an illumination of this sort, which makes it nonetheless attainable to think that the tunnel within which we circulate isn't closed at either ends. ” later on, the first-nighters filed off to a celebration in Williams’s honor that wooden used to be web hosting on the Royalton. Williams was once too surprised to socialise. He and Windham disappeared into the balmy evening. They walked the town for hours and forgot in regards to the get together. “I don’t have in mind feeling an excellent experience of triumph,” Williams acknowledged. “In truth, I don’t bring it to mind rather well in any respect. it may were one of many happiest nights of my lifestyles. . . . I’d spent loads of my strength at the climb to good fortune that once I’d made it and my play was once the most well liked price ticket on the town, I felt nearly no delight. ” Williams’s note for this second in his existence used to be “providential”—“suddenly, providentially, ‘The Glass Menagerie’ made it whilst i used to be thirty-four. ” as though to underscore the inexplicable nature of the play’s luck, he stored in his scrapbook a printed astrological chart displaying “a planetary tie-up” the evening of the most advantageous “that is fantastic. ” To the younger playwright Arthur Miller, The Glass Menagerie augured what he known as “a revolution” in long island theater. “In one stroke,” Miller wrote, “‘The Glass Menagerie’ lifted lyricism to its maximum point in our theatre’s heritage. . . . In [Williams], American theatre discovered, maybe for the 1st time, an eloquence and amplitude of feeling. ” “It turns out to me that your glass menagerie all started a renaissance of our theatre . . . the weather of production was once invigorated,” his buddy Carson McCullers wrote years later, assessing the seismic effect of the play. It used to be not just the yankee theater that was once reborn. Edwina Williams, to whom her dutiful son gave part his royalties—The Glass Menagerie might run for 563 performances—was additionally reborn, liberated by way of her new wealth to depart her disastrous marriage. “I was once chuffed to have my freedom,” she stated. “The partitions of the home had resounded with wrath for too a long time and now there has been peace in the end. ” Laurette Taylor used to be reborn as a legend in her time. “The postman can ring twice,” she stated. “From right here on I’m simply kicking the clouds round. ” And in a single day, within the public’s brain, Tom Williams was once reborn as Tennessee Williams, playwright. The day after the outlet, in line with front web page of the hot York instances, “there was once a sense of release—release from a troublesome wintry weather and a promise of free up, quickly, from at the least the various cares of battle.