A Streetcar Named Desire (Revised)

(Author) (Introduction by)

Product Details

$12.95  $11.91
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
5.2 X 0.6 X 7.9 inches | 0.44 pounds

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About the Author

Tennessee Williams (Thomas Lanier Williams; 1911-83) was a US playwright, whose controversial plays dealt with themes of repressed sexuality and family conflict. Williams was the most popular playwright in America between 1945 and 1960, winning the Pulitzer Prize twice and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award four times. Amongst serious playwrights, only Eugene O'Neill equalled his achievements on the Broadway stage; several of Williams's plays were also made into successful films. The son of a shoe salesman, Williams grew up in some poverty in Mississippi and Missouri. Many of his early frustrations, which are reflected in his plays, arose from the prudery of his mother and the coarseness of his womanizing father, who, as his son's homosexuality became apparent, invariably referred to him as 'Miss Nancy'. The playwright revealed his homosexuality in his Memoirs (1975), having previously explored the subject in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly Last Summer. Williams tried his hand at fiction and poetry before turning to drama in the late 1930s, winning a Theatre Guild prize for the four one-act plays entitled American Blues in 1939. Recognition as a major playwright came with The Glass Menagerie, a tender work inspired by the tragic life of his sister, a schizophrenic. His next play, the brutal A Streetcar Named Desire, opened in 1947, winning the Pulitzer Prize and making a star of Marlon Brando. It was followed a year later by Summer and Smoke. In 1949, these three plays were running simultaneously in London. His later works included The Rose Tattoo (1951), Camino Real (1953), Orpheus Descending (1957), and SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH (1959), which opened with Paul Newman and Geraldine Page in the leads. By the late 1950s, Williams was being accused of repeating himself, and after Period of Adjustment (1960) and The Night of the Iguana (1961), his plays were received unenthusiastically. During his later years, Williams became increasingly dependent on drugs and alcohol, suffering a nervous breakdown in 1969. He died in 1983.
Arthur Miller grew up in New York's Lower East Side, where he attended the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School from first grade through high school. He graduated from City College of New York and Brooklyn Law School, and he has a Master's in Law from New York University. While living in New York City, Arthur became an inactive member of the newly formed Jewish Defense League. As the JDL expanded its activities and became involved in the Soviet Jewry movement, there was a desperate need for lawyers to represent the numerous young JDL members who participated in the group's militant activities. Miller was recruited by Attorney Robert Persky to assist with these cases. At first, Miller refused, as his practice was limited to tax law, but, ultimately, Miller was unable to refuse Persky's desperate plea. For the next few years, Miller donated hundreds of hours of representation to increasingly complex cases, doing battle with the FBI and other federal agencies who were relentless in their attempts to close down the JDL. Finally, in 1975, Miller himself became a target of the FBI in what, to this day, Miller believes was the result of government-sanctioned antisemitism. After keeping his story a secret for nearly fifty years, the treatment of Jonathan Pollard forced Miller to go public. Arthur lives in Bet Shemesh, Israel with his wife of more than 53 years, Ronnie. The Millers have four children, three of whom live in the United States and a daughter who lives in Bet Shemesh. The Millers' journey to Israel is the subject of Arthur's first book, Because It's Israel: An Aliyah Odyssey.


Lyrical and poetic and human and heartbreaking and memorable and funny.--Francis Ford Coppola
The introductions, by playwrights as illustrious as Williams himself, are the gem of these new editions.--Ken Furtado
Blanche is the Everest of modern American drama, a peak of psychological complexity and emotional range.--John Lahr