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Critical Insights: Tennessee Williams

By turns delicately lyrical and shockingly violent, Tennessee Williams burst onto the American stage with The Glass Menagerie in 1944, and over the course of his career continued to write some of the twentieth century's most enduring plays. A two-time Pulitzer winner for A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Williams gave America some of its most memorable and fascinating characters in Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski, Maggie the Cat and Brick Pollitt, and Tom and Amanda Wingfield. But despite his fame, Williams always remained sensitive to the plight of those trapped at the edges of society and continued to identify with this "fugitive kind" throughout his life, writing an essay titled "The Catastrophe of Success" only a few years afterThe Glass Menagerie made him into a household name.

This volume brings together a variety of old and new essays on Williams's life and works. Topics include Williams's concept of the "fugitive kind" and the recurring figure of the persecuted artist, the development of the playwright's expressionistic values from his early student play "Me, Vashya" up through Camino Real, and the playwright's political commitments.

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