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The Glass Menagerie (New Directions Book)by Tennessee Williams
Synopses & Reviews
Menagerie was Williams's first popular success and launched the brilliant, if somewhat controversial, career of our pre-eminent lyric playwright. Since its premiere in Chicago in 1944, with the legendary Laurette Taylor in the role of Amanda, the play has been the bravura piece for great actresses from Jessica Tandy to Joanne Woodward, and is studied and performed in classrooms and theatres around the world. The Glass Menagerie (in the reading text the author preferred) is now available only in its New Directions Paperbook edition. A new introduction by prominent Williams scholar Robert Bray, editor of The Tennessee Williams Annual Review, reappraises the play more than half a century after it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award: "More than fifty years after telling his story of a family whose lives form a triangle of quiet desperation, Williams's mellifluous voice still resonates deeply and universally." This edition of The Glass Menagerie also includes Williams's essay on the impact of sudden fame on a struggling writer, "The Catastrophe of Success," as well as a short section of Williams's own "Production Notes." The cover features the classic line drawing by Alvin Lustig, originally done for the 1949 New Directions edition.
No play in the modern theatre has so captured the imagination and heart of the American public as Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie.
When it opened in Chicago in 1944, The Glass Menageriemarked a turning point in American theater and in the life of its then unknown author. Tennessee Williams’s elegiac masterpiece brought a radical new lyricism to Broadway—and today the tragedy, fragility, and tenderness of this “memory play” endure.
In a cramped St. Louis apartment the aging Southern belle Amanda Wingfield, long preoccupied by memories of gentlemen callers and a world that no longer exists, is energized by the dilemma of how to save what remains of her family. Her restless son Tom — factory worker, aspiring poet, and the narrator of the play — is swept up in Amanda’s comic and heartbreaking schemes to find Laura, his agonizingly shy and handicapped sister, a husband.
This new edition of The Glass Menageriecomes with an exciting introduction by the playwright Tony Kushner. Williams’s classic essay on the effect of swift and unexpected fame, “The Catastrophe of Success,” his original production notes, and a new essay on the autobiographical background of the play by the distinguished Williams scholar Allean Hale are also included.
About the Author
Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) is the acclaimed author of many books of letters, short stories, poems, essays, and a large collection of plays, including The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Camino Real, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Orpheus Descending, The Night of the Iguana, and The Rose Tattoo.
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