Hello everybody! We're four students (Kate, Olga, Ann & Lena) of the Department of Foreign Languages and Area Studies of Lomonosov Moscow State University. This is our first sample blog dedicated to American Literature issues and to elaboration of our Final Web-Project. If you're interested - welcome!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Birthday of Tennessee Williams!

Oh, Gosh!
Yesterday was

He would be 96! (In a few years we may celebrate his centenary! :)

On this occasion I would like to add some biographical information and photos of Thomas Lanier Williams (that is his original name), because I found that we didn't acquaint our readers (I hope they'l appear soon) with the author of plays that we are dwelling on! So -->

Thomas Lanier Williams
was born on March, 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi. He was a second child (he had an elder sister Rose and a younger brother Walter Dakin) in the family of Cornelius Coffin and Edwina Dakin Williams. His father was born in a prestigeous family from Tennessee, and served as a salesman who became increasingly abusive as his children grew older. His mother also descended from rather noble South family and was quite a smothering, severe person (she is considered as a prototype for Amanda Wingfield in "Glass Menagerie"). Their family moved several times from one state to another, Thomas changed several colleges. His first 'literary prize' (of $5) he got at the age of 16 for the essay "Can a Good Wife Be a Good Sport?". In the early 1930's Williams enrolled in the University of Missouri where he was dubbed 'Tennessee' because of his strong Southern accent; years after he would adopt it as a penname.
In 1944 he wrote "The Glass Menagerie", which had a very successful run in Broadway and won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best play of the season. It changed not ony life Of T.W., but revolutionized American Theatre.

In 1948 he won his first Pulitzer Prize for "The Streetcar Named Desire", the second one he obtained in 1955 for "A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". Among his masterpieces also considered "The Night of the Iguana".

Tennessee Williams drew heavily on his family experiences in his writings. He was profoundly influenced by two people: his sister Rose and his lover. The first one was a mentally disabled person. She had a lobotomy, which went off badly and she stayed handicapped until death. It was a harsh blow for her brother, and the largest part of her adult life Thomas was looking after her. Williams struggled with depression through out his life. At a young age he suffered a nervous break down, and he lived with the constant fear that he would go insane as did his sister Rose.

Another steadying influence he experienced from his love partner Frank Merlo, with whom they met and fell in love in 1947. They were happy for 14 years, until Frank's untimely death of lung cancer, which lead to a serious long-termed depression of Tennessee Williams and his addiction for alcohol and drugs.

Tennessee Williams died at the age of 71 after he choked on a bottle cap in his room at the Hotel Elysee in New York, but some people believe that he was murdered (it was a hostile time for homosexuals in America).
In 1989, Williams was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

For more structured biographical information you may go here -

Happy T.W. Birthday to all fanciers of his works!!


so-summer said...

Lena, thank you! You publish to the blog more often than we all three do! It's something heroic, you know) How do you tolerate us?;)
P.S.: your posts are gripping, I enjoy reading them)))

ewe said...

Olya, thanks :) yeah, it would be great if all of us write regularly as I do, and with the same sense and on business, as you do ;)
P.S.:really hope that there's not much irony in your words)