The definitive biography of America's greatest playwright from the celebrated drama critic of The New Yorker.
John Lahr has produced a theater biography like no other. Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh gives intimate access to the mind of one of the most brilliant dramatists of his century, whose plays reshaped the American theater and the nation's sense of itself. This astute, deeply researched biography sheds a light on Tennessee Williams's warring family, his guilt, his creative triumphs and failures, his sexuality and numerous affairs, his misreported death, even the shenanigans surrounding his estate.
With vivid cameos of the formative influences in Williams's life - his fierce, belittling father Cornelius; his puritanical, domineering mother Edwina; his demented sister Rose, who was lobotomized at the age of thirty-three; his beloved grandfather, the Reverend Walter Dakin - Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh is as much a biography of the man who created A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as it is a trenchant exploration of Williams’s plays and the tortured process of bringing them to stage and screen.
The portrait of Williams himself is unforgettable: a virgin until he was twenty-six, he had serial homosexual affairs thereafter as well as long-time, bruising relationships with Pancho Gonzalez and Frank Merlo. With compassion and verve, Lahr explores how Williams's relationships informed his work and how the resulting success brought turmoil to his personal life.
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A question for the audio engineers
I'm sure it would rank high for content, but I found the audiobook difficult to focus on for one reason.
Didn't get that far.
Elizabeth Ashley can do no wrong, and what was unfortunate about the reading could have been corrected by a sound editor.
Again, had to stop listening pretty early on.
There was one annoying thing about this audiobook--you hear the narrator, again and again, taking in breath between, and often during, sentences. The sound of the air going into her mouth is so loud that it's hard to focus on anything else. A good sound editor should have been able to mute all of these inhales. Pauses are much easier to take than these gasps for air. It would be really great if someone from the company that recorded this book could make those edits and then announce on this page that they have done it so those of us who have purchased the book could re-download the corrected version.