Cover image for The glass menagerie
Title:
The glass menagerie
Author:
Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983.
Publication Information:
New York : New Directions, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xxii, 105 pages ; 20 cm
Language:
English
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.3 3.0 5982.

Reading Counts RC High School 9 7 Quiz: 04541 Guided reading level: Z.
ISBN:
9780811214049

9780808508830
Format :
Book

Available:*

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On Order

Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

After O'Neill, Williams is perhaps the best dramatist the United States has yet produced. Born in his grandfather's rectory in Columbus, Mississippi, Williams and his family later moved to St. Louis. There Williams endured many bad years caused by the abuse of his father and his own anguish over his introverted sister, who was later permanently institutionalized. Williams attended the University of Missouri, and, after time out to clerk for a shoe company and for his own mental breakdown, also attended Washington University of St. Louis and the University of Iowa, from which he graduated in 1938. Williams began to write plays in 1935. During 1943 he spent six months as a contract screenwriter for MGM but produced only one script, The Gentleman Caller. When MGM rejected it, Williams turned it into his first major success, The Glass Menagerie (1945). In this intensely autobiographical play, Williams dramatizes the story of Amanda, who dreams of restoring her lost past by finding a gentleman caller for her crippled daughter, and of Amanda's son Tom, who longs to escape from the responsibility of supporting his mother and sister.

After The Glass Menagerie,Williams wrote his masterpiece, A Streetcar Named Desire, (1947), along with a steady stream of other plays, among them such major works as Summer and Smoke(1948), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1954), and Suddenly Last Summer (1958). His plays celebrate the "fugitive kind," the sensitive outcasts whose outsider status allows them to perceive the horror of the world and who often give additional witness to that horror by becoming its victims. Stephen S. Stanton has summed up Williams's "virtues and strengths" as "a genius for portraiture, particularly of women, a sensitive ear for dialogue and the rhythms of natural speech, a comic talent often manifesting itself in "black comedy,' and a genuine theatrical flair exhibited in telling stage effects attained through lighting, costume, music, and movements." After The Night of the Iguana (1961), Williams continued to write profusely---and constantly to revise his work---but it became more difficult to get productions of his plays and, if they were produced, to win critical or popular acclaim for them.

Williams won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for these two and for The Glass Menagerie and The Night of the Iguana.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Excerpts

Excerpts

Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award in 1945 for his "memory" play, The Glass Menagerie; it was his first success. His protagonist, Tom Wingfield, recalls events at his troubled home in St. Louis, where his suffocating mother, Amanda Wingfield, badgers him to locate a gentleman caller for his sister, Laura, a shy, lame girl who occupies herself with music and a collection of glass animals. Readers approaching this semi-autobiographical Southern Gothic drama will appreciate the quick-reference study helps offered here, such as the biographical sketch and character list. Advanced students will value the selective critical extracts and annotated bibliography. Excerpted from The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Robert BrayTennessee Williams
Introductionp. vii
Cast Listing/Scenep. xvii
The Charactersp. xviii
Production Notesp. xix
The Glass Menageriep. 3
The Catastrophe of Success, an essayp. 99

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