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The Glass Menagerie (Modern Classics (Penguin)) Paperback – 5 Mar 2009


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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: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,004 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.

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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).

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By B. Turnbull on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. J. Noyes TOP 100 REVIEWER on 23 Oct. 2013
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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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall on 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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By Robin Friedman TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
Tennessee Williams won the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for his 1945 play, "The Glass Menagerie". The work was the first success for its 34-year old author and the product of many years of hard work and frequent failure. The play quickly became an iconic part of American literature. John Lahr's biography, "Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh" (2014) inspired me to revisit Williams and "The Glass Menagerie".

The play is memory as Tom, the narrator and a character, states at the outset; and its predominant mood, according to Williams, is nostalgia. It is thus appropriate to recall my early experience with the play. In the early 1960s, we studied American literature in the junior year of high school. Our teacher assigned each member of the class to read and do an oral report on an American play. My play was "The Glass Menagerie". The teacher made plain her dislike for Williams based on what she saw as the sexual, violent character of most of his work. I had already seen Williams "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Summer and Smoke" performed on stage. I am afraid I disagreed with her broad opinion about Williams too vehemently for the time and place. I read "The Glass Menagerie" and gave what I recall as a bloated oral report which would have been defensive in tone given what I knew about my teacher's view of Williams. It probably wasn't so much a matter of not understanding the play. "The Glass Menagerie" was already standard high school reading and its themes and beautiful language are within the grasp of most high school students, including me at the time.
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If you're a fan of Tennessee Williams you'll love this but I would also recommend it for anyone interested or studying drama due to the wonderful writing and strong family story which is in my opinion timeless. Very enjoyable, I only wish I had been able to see the original performances. There is an interesting essay after the play by the author which is also worth reading.
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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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