Tennessee Williams, more than a playwright.
I recently read a review on Olivia Laing‘s book, The Trip to Echo Spring. Laing’s book is an investigation into the relationship between writers, alcohol and their need to be immersed in water. I haven’t read the book yet, so I don’t want to speculate too much, other than to say that it looks like an interesting read. The only reason I mention it is because two of the writers included in the book, Ernest Hemingway and John Berryman, are responsible for some of my favourite stories and poems. And one of the writers has been on my “to read” list for a number of years.
So I finally made a start with Tennessee Williams’ Collected Stories. The short stories are presented in chronological order and I am about a quarter of the way through. The collection was first published in the mid 80’s. Whenever I start reading a collection of any kind, I usually leaf through the pages making little observations before starting at the beginning and getting stuck into it. The first thing that struck me about this book is how many of the stories were previously unpublished. The second was how the preface to this book of short stories is a short story, followed by the introduction, followed by the collection. Maybe that is common but I haven’t seen it before. Anyway, the preface whet my whistle sufficiently. The Man in the Overstuffed Chair is both charming and heartbreaking. As I have said, I’m only a quarter of a way through so I don’t have a truly informed opinion yet, but I am quickly becoming a fan.
Williams used more words than most of the authors I admire, but he used them to create wonderful, poetic imagery. The stories that have stuck with me so far are the aforementioned The Man in the Overstuffed Chair, Something by Tolstoi and The Field of Blue Children. Anyway, these are my latest recommendations, and if you’re interested in learning more about this classic author and his varied works, have a look here, here and here.
Photo Source: http://www.list.co.uk/article/13128-a-brief-history-of-tennessee-williams/ Photo Source:
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