Distributed for Reaktion Books
Ibell discusses Williams’s early plays that have become household names: The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. But he also rescues Williams’s later works from critical obscurity, uncovering overlooked values in them. He explores the importance of Europe on the Southerner’s imagination, following Williams and his companion—Gore Vidal—through holiday after holiday in Italy; and he looks, especially, at the theme for which Williams became most known: the power of sexual attraction and the tragedy of its loss when we—as we all must do—grow old.
Punchy, accessible, and fabulously illuminating, this critical biography is a must-read for any admirer of American theater, literature, or the passionate lives of those who define them.
"This biography will interest people who’ve read previous treatments, because few of us have read them all. . . . This latest rendition is bound to tell you things you didn’t know or have forgotten. . . . Ibell's book is full of interesting details like these. And biography is in the details. Plus, the photographs are marvelous."
Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide
“A sympathetic study of the playwright. Recommended.”
"As well as being of interest to a general readership, the text might serve as a useful primer . . . because it surveys not only Williams's major plays but also a wide range of his lesser-known dramas, short stories, novellas and screenplays, and poems. The illustrations, which feature throughout, are a bonus. Ibell presents his arguments in a highly accessible manner, and the easy flow of his prose renders this critical biography an enjoyable introduction to one of the most important canonical figures in American theater history."
Journal of American Studies
"A brisk and entertaining read."
Modern Language Review
"A wonderfully concise and totally compelling introduction to the life and work of America’s most extraordinary playwright."
Table of Contents
1 Early Life
2 The Later 1940s: A Streetcar to Success
3 The 1950s: A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
4 The 1960s: A Period of Adjustment
5 The 1970s: Small Craft Warnings
6 The 1980s: Steps Must Be Gentle
7 Afterlife: Into the Twenty-first Century