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The Glass Menagerie (Modern Classics (Penguin)) [Paperback]

Tennessee Williams , Robert Bray
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Mar 2009 Modern Classics (Penguin)

Tennessee Williams's evocation of loneliness and lost love, The Glass Menagerie is one of his most powerful and moving plays. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes a new introduction by Robert Bray.

Abandoned by her husband, Amanda Wingfield comforts herself with recollections of her earlier, more gracious life in Blue Mountain when she was pursued by 'gentleman callers'. Her son Tom, a poet with a job in a warehouse, longs for adventure and escape from his mother's suffocating embrace, while Laura, her shy crippled daughter, has her glass menagerie and her memories. Amanda is desperate to find her daughter a husband, but when the long-awaited gentleman caller does arrive, Laura's romantic illusions are crushed.

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) was born in Columbus, Mississippi. When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evenings writing. He received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940 for his play Battle of Angels, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955. Among his many other plays Penguin have published The Glass Menagerie (1944), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), The Rose Tattoo (1951), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), The Night of the Iguana (1961), and Small Craft Warnings (1972).

If you enjoyed The Glass Menagerie, you might like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Tennessee Williams will live as long as drama itself'

Peter Shaffer, author of Equus


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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (5 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141190264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141190266
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tennessee Williams was born in 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi, where his grandfather was the episcopal clergyman. When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evenings writing. He entered the University of Iowa in 1938 and completed his course, at the same time holding a large number of part-time jobs of great diversity. He received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940 for his play Battle of Angels, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955. Among his many other plays Penguin have published The Glass Menagerie (1944), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Summer and Smoke (1948), The Rose Tattoo (1951), Camino Real (1953), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Orpheus Descending (1957), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), Period of Adjustment (1960), The Night of the Iguana (1961), The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore (1963; revised 1964) and Small Craft Warnings (1972). Tennessee Williams died in 1983.

Image reproduced Courtesy of New Directions Pubilshing.



Product Description

Review

Seeing The Glass Menagerie was like stumbling on a flower in a junkyard -- Williams had pushed language and character to the front of thestage as never before.--Arthur Miller

About the Author

Tennessee Williams was born in 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi, where his grandfather was the episcopal clergyman. When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evenings writing. He entered the University of Iowa in 1938 and completed his course, at the same time holding a large number of part-time jobs of great diversity. He received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940 for his play Battle of Angels, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955. Among his many other plays Penguin have published A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Summer and Smoke (1948), The Rose Tattoo (1951), Camino Real(1953), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Orpheus Descending (1957), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), Period of Adjustment (1960), The Night of the Iguana (1961), The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore (1963; revised 1964) and Small Craft Warnings (1972).

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Drama 10 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Though most will pip for "Streetcar" as Williams' finest hour, I'd go for "The Glass Menagerie", a dark tale with great narration and stage direction that reads like lyrical prose. In the gothic genre, you will find better examples of the key themes ("Streetcar" is an obvious example), but there is something truly haunting about this play, something that will have you sympathizing with Tom and his odd family. A great read, even if you're not studying the genre.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Williams Most Autobiographical Work 21 Feb 2003
Format:Paperback
There are few American playwrights who rank as highly in the Pantheon as Tennessee Williams. He is up there with O'Neill, Miller and Albee as amongst the quintessential dramatists of the 20th century. This is one of his earliest, and in some respects his most timeless, of his scripts. No one can argue that it his most autobiographical, as it portrays a cloyingly suffocating matriarch, Amanda, and a younger sister, Laura, who are both interchangable characters for Williams' own little St Louis family. Actually, in real life, the outcome was much more tragic, as Williams' mother had a frontal lobotomy performed on his actual sister. One can see how Williams may have harbored some deep resentments towards his mother, and he spends most of his time getting even with her in this Euripidean play.
Though recent adaptations of this play have emphasized the "touchy-feely" aspects of the relationship between brother and sister (Why does Treat Williams come to mind?), the actual script lends itself to a much darker, Medea-like interpretation, which I believe Williams originally intended. This is Williams way of getting back at the evil Witch of the West who dominated his youth and who would exert her influence upon him for the rest of his life. It doesn't take a Freud to untangle this thread
If you want to watch a great performnace of this play, try to track down the "Broadway Theater Archive" 1973 version with Katherine Hepburn as Amanda, Sam Waterston as Tom, Michael Moriarity as "The Gentleman Caller," and Joanna Miles as an unforgettably vulnerable and poignant Laura. The Paul Newman 1987 theatrical release had a strong cast as well, but can't compete.
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4.0 out of 5 stars If only it was longer. 4 Feb 2014
By Andrea
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I would give it 5 stars if it had been longer. Williams is a genius and this is one of the pieces which proves it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good quality product, happy. 25 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Would've preferred a quicker dispatch time but once item was received, I was very happy with the quality. would recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dark but brilliant play 21 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Glass Menagerie is a dark tale set during the 1930s recession, dealing with the harsh reality of life and the ways people use escapism to avoid being weighed down by it. It's a great, gripping play that gets increasingly darker and more depressive as it slogs on. I personally loved the ending. Definitely worth a read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars One to read? Not up there with his later works. 23 Oct 2013
By K. J. Noyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
3.5 stars

I loved Streetcar and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by the same writer. They both seemed meatier than this, which felt abrupt.

Amanda frets for her adult children who both live with her, the forever-out Tom and shy, 'crippled' Laura. She persuades Tom to bring home a clean-living friend from his warehouse job to meet Laura. This turns out to be someone Laura remembers very well.

I found William's later work much more fleshed-out than this, on sometimes similar veins. I didn't really see much point in the 'glass' metaphor, but can imagine the role of Amanda would be a good meaty one for an actress to play. Though not in the same league as Blanche or Maggie.
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