Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh

Finalist, National Book Awards 2014 for Nonfiction

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh
ISBN 9780393021240
W.W. Norton & Company

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Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh gives intimate access to the mind of one of the most brilliant dramatists of his century, a writer 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 DesireThe 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.

Judges Citation

John Lahr compellingly weaves together the life and works of one of our greatest playwrights to produce not only the definitive biography of Williams—meticulously researched and lucidly comprehensive—but the finest introduction to the plays, from the great blockbusters to the critically bashed. More than an illuminating biography of a perplexing genius, Mad Pilgrimage may be the best book available on American theater.