Books by Mississippi Writers 1996-2010
By Tennessee Williams, edited by Albert J. Devlin and Nancy M. Tischler New Directions (Hardcover, $37.00, ISBN: 0811214451, 11/2000; Paperback, $21.95, ISBN: 081121527X, 9/2022) It is fascinating to watch a major artist emerge―the first flashes of talent, the false steps, the distractions of friends, lovers, and family. It is doubly fascinating when the artist is someone as seductive and determined to capture attention as Tennessee Williams. This volume of his letters begins with a note, riddled with spelling errors, from the eight-year-old Williams at his grandfather's house to his mother and ends with a flurry of excited letters dating from the weeks following his first Broadway success, The Glass Menagerie. In between, we see Williams in several phases: distracted student; defensive college dropout; money-begging pathetic case; outraged, rejected writer; high-potential low achiever drifting through New Orleans, New Mexico, and New York. At times, especially during the period when he attended, in succession, the University of Missouri, Washington University, and the University of Iowa without ever quite finding his calling, it seems miraculous that he ever did pull it together. Each letter in this addictively readable collection is accompanied by some biographical text that places it in context in Williams' life and explains the obscurer and more personal allusions he makes. ―Jack Helbig. Booklist. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.