The Missouri Review (Vol. 19, No. 2) (Speer Morgan)

by Speer Morgan

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eBook formatPaperback, (torrent)En
PublisherThe Curators of the University of Missouri
File size3.2 Mb
Release date 01.09.1996
Pages count208
Book rating4 (1 votes)
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The Found Text feature in this issue is a never-before-published, full-length play by Tennessee Williams, WILL MR. MERRIWETHER RETURN FROM MEMPHIS? It seems especially appropriate for THE MISSOURI REVIEW to be publishing a Williams play, since, while Williams was born in Mississippi, he was raised partly in Missouri and served much of his literary apprenticeship here. He even came to the University of Missouri in the early '30s—and stayed long enough to develop a solid dislike for journalism (it didn't let him write enough) and to fail ROTC not one but three times.

Produced once but never published, WILL MR. MERRIWETHER RETURN FROM MEMPHIS? is more artful than forceful; yet it has the appeal of being pure Williams and the added interest, for those of us at THE MISSOURI REVIEW, of local allusions. Lights above the thrust stage spell out "Tiger Town," a seedy district where one of the minor characters hangs out. And in Act I, Scene V, there's a mention of the Hinkson Creek (Williams calls it Hinksons), which winds through Columbia, and for which a street is also named.

Williams' first major success would not come until 1944, with THE GLASS MENAGERIE. Nostalgic and undisguisedly autobiographical, it is the play, along with A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, for which Williams is best known. But these two masterpieces represent only a tiny fraction of the author's work. In a career that spanned almost forty years, Williams wrote scores of plays and published numerous nondramatic works: short stories; two poetry collections; two novellas; a novel and, finally, in 1975, his memoirs. His output was prodigious. Still, it's his plays that have really counted. Of the three playwrights who did the most to advance American drama, Arthur Miller was the moralist; Eugene O'Neill the metaphysician; and Williams was the dramatist of passions, expanding the emotional range of the theatre in plays as tender as THE GLASS MENAGERIE, as steamy as STREETCAR and as violently gothic as SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER and SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH.

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