Tenn at One Hundred
Tenn at One Hundred, edited by David Kaplan, is a comprehensive look at the reputation of America’s greatest playwright, Tennessee Williams. Published on the occasion of Tennessee Williams’ centennial, these eighteen essays—by authors including John Lahr, William Jay Smith, Sam Staggs, Amiri Baraka, John Patrick Shanley, Allean Hale and Kenneth Holditch—explore the man and his legacy: the plays, films, reviews, talent, tenacity, good fortune, bad timing, friends, addictions, critics, producers, publishers, directors, actors, and biographers that helped to shape Williams’ critical reputation and iconic status over the past seventy years.
Best known for the groundbreaking plays, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and The Glass Menagerie, Williams began his writing career in the 1930s as a struggling and unknown poet. At the time of his death in 1983, he was the most produced playwright in the country and one of the most ridiculed American writers. What were the events and decisions that created these conflicting extremes of reputation? How did Williams come to be known as one the most shocking writers of the post-war era while he was also lauded as America’s “poet of human heart”? Tenn at One Hundred is the first book to attempt to answer these questions and to begin re-assessing Williams’ reputation.
Chapters include: “Tennessee Williams’ St. Louis Blues” by Allean Hale; “The Poet-Playwright’s Modest Beginnings” by William Jay Smith; “The Year 1939: Becoming Tennessee Williams” by Albert J. Devlin; “Battle in Boston: Tennessee Williams’ First Professional Production” by Claudia Wilsch Case; “Rescuing the Glass Menagerie” by David Kaplan; “A Night to Go Down in History: The Premiere of A Streetcar Named Desire” by Sam Staggs; “Audrey Wood and Tennessee Williams: A Revealing Correspondence” by Albert J. Devlin; “The Worst Play by the Best Playwright” by Michael Paller; “Courting Controversy: The Making and Selling of Baby Doll and the Demise of the Production Code” by Vincent Brook; “Bending the Code: Filming the Rose Tattoo” by Robert Bray and Barton Palmer; “Tennessee Williams and the Swedish Academy: Why He Never Won The Nobel Prize” by Dirk Gindt; “Pulp Williams: Tennessee in the Popular Imagination” by Thomas Keith; “Mr. Williams is Advised to Stay Silent” by David Kaplan; “Tennessee Among the Biographers” by Kenneth Holditch; “The Lady and Tennessee” by John Lahr; “Too Grotesque and Too Funny for Laughter: Publishing the Late Tennessee Williams” by Annette Saddik; “Tennessee Williams is Never Apolitical” by Amiri Baraka; “The Gorgeous Unstoppable” by John Patrick Shanley
John Patrick Shanley, Oscar and Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright; John Lahr, lead critic for The New Yorker magazine; Amiri Baraka, playwright, poet, musician and winner of the American Book Award; William Jay Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate; Sam Staggs, author of When Blanche Met Brando; Al Devlin, co-author of the two volumes of” The Collected Letters of Tennessee Williams; Annette Saddik, author of” The Politics of Reputation: The Critical Reception of Williams Later Plays; Thomas Keith, editor of Tennessee Williams titles for New Directions; Kenneth Holditch, co-author of Tennessee and the South, and The World of Tennessee Williams; Robert Bray and Barton Palmer, co-authors of Hollywood’s Tennessee: The Williams Films and Post War America; Michael Paller, author of” Gentlemen Callers: Tennessee Williams, Homosexuality, and Mid-Twentieth Century Drama; David Kaplan, Curator of the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival and author of Tennessee Williams in Provincetown.