Tennessee Williams: mad pilgrimage of the flesh, by John Lahr

This book begins with Williams’ first big success, The Glass Menagerie, which I happened to act in in a high school production. So I have learned an enormous amount of background to the play, which I’m sure as teenagers we weren’t interested in. (The mother, Amanda, was modeled on his mother.) The play was hugely popular, with Laurette Taylor coming out of semi-retirement (alcohol) to star as Amanda.  Williams upbringing was total repression of any sexual impulses or thoughts. He was a virgin until 27 and his late twenties and throughout his thirties, his mission in life was to unlearn repression. The book is about 600 pages, so stay tuned.

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