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Magical Muse, Magical Muse, 0817311270, 0-8173-1127-0, 978-0-8173-1127-8, 9780817311278, , , Magical Muse, 0817313656, 0-8173-1365-6, 978-0-8173-1365-4, 9780817313654, , , Magical Muse, 0817358412, 0-8173-5841-2, 978-0-8173-5841-9, 9780817358419,

Magical Muse
Millennial Essays on Tennessee Williams
Edited by Ralph F. Voss

Trade Cloth
2002. 272 pp.
Price:  $49.95 s
E Book
2009. 268 pp.
Price:  $24.95 d
Quality Paper
2015. 268 pp.
1 B&W illustration
Price:  $24.95 s

In this unique and engaging collection, twelve essays celebrate the legacy of one of America's most important playwrights and investigate Williams's enduring effect on America's cultural, theatrical, and literary heritage.
Like Faulkner before him, Tennessee Williams gave universal appeal to southern characters and settings. His major plays, from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Glass Menagerie to A Streetcar Named Desire and Night of the Iguana, continue to capture America's popular imagination, a significant legacy. Though he died in 1983, only recently have Williams's papers become available to the public, bringing to light a number of intriguing discoveries—letters, drafts, and several unpublished and unproduced plays. These recent developments make a reassessment of Williams's life and work both timely and needed.

The essays in this collection originated as presentations at the 27th annual Alabama Symposium on English and American Literature at The University of Alabama in 1999. The book addresses a wide range of topics, among them the influence of popular culture on Williams's plays, and, in turn, his influence on popular culture; his relationship to Hollywood and his struggles with censorship, Hollywood standards, and the competing vision of directors such as Elia Kazan; his depictions of gender and sexuality; and issues raised by recently discovered plays.

Anyone interested in American literature and drama will find this collection of fresh, accessible essays a rewarding perspective on the life, work, and legacy of one of the bright stars of American theatre.


Ralph F. Voss is a retired Professor of English at The University of Alabama and the author of A Life of William Inge: The Strains of Triumph.

“Two recent volumes of essays, Magical Muse: Millennial Essays on Tennessee Williams and The Undiscovered Country: The Later Plays of Tennessee Williams, attest to ongoing interest in both the dramatic works and the biography of one of America's most significant playwrights. Building in part on new productions and the publication of previously inaccessible texts and letters in the past few years, the collections attempt to add to the available body of knowledge, provide new interpretations of individual plays, and offer a reassessment of Williams's work, especially the late dramas.”
Theatre Journal

“An arrogant academic skeptical of all press blurbs, I must confess that the “unique and engaging collection” enticement for this volume pre-empted my own lofty pronouncement. Over- and mis-used though the first adjective may be, there is indeed something of the unique here: perhaps the serendipitous yet impress range of essays and authors, perhaps their suspect (again to an academic) yet compelling readability, perhaps the casual yet substantive tone of the afterword.”
Comparative Drama

"Anyone interested in American literature, American drama, and modern theatre will be attracted to this collection." — Matthew Roudane, editor of the Cambridge Companion to Tennessee Williams

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