The Luck of Friendship: The Letters of Tennessee Williams and James Laughlin

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Product Details

W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.1 X 1.6 X 9.4 inches | 1.65 pounds
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About the Author

James Laughlin (1914-1997) founded New Directions in 1936 while still a student at Harvard. He wrote and compiled more than a dozen books of poetry as well as stories and essays; seven volumes of his correspondence with his authors are available from W.W. Norton.
Tennessee Williams was an American playwright and author of many stage classics. After years of obscurity, he became suddenly famous with 'The Glass Menagerie', closely reflecting his own unhappy family background. This heralded a string of successes, including 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', 'Orpheus Descending', and 'Sweet Bird of Youth'. His later work attempted a new style that did not appeal to audiences, and alcohol and drug dependence further inhibited his creative output. Williams adapted much of his best work for the cinema, and also wrote short stories, poetry, essays and a volume of memoirs. In 1979, four years before his death, he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1961, Thomas Keith is an editor, as well as production manager and art director, at New Directions Publishing. He lives in New York City.
Peggy L. Fox is the former president and publisher of New Directions, was Tennessee Williams's last editor, and is James Laughlin's literary coexecutor. She lives in Athens, New York.


This remarkable correspondence charts the delicate course of two literary colleagues who become fast friends; two poets who held one another aloft during the triumphant and devastating vagaries of their careers; and two men who expressed themselves in prose with the ease most of us employ in merely breathing. It's an intimate peek into a deeply moving, even profound relationship.--Doug Wright, author of I Am My Own Wife and War Paint
Reading these letters revealed a Tennessee Williams I had never known before. Certainly not in his fabulous, fantastical plays, his tortured memoirs or the Southern Gothic biographies. Instead of being a character in one of his own plays, this Tennessee is a practical and dedicated man of the theatre, an uncompromising artist and a loving and loyal friend. I have never felt closer to a fellow playwright. Tennessee, we hardly knew you!--Terrence McNally, author of Master Class
Revealing and moving.... The rivers of mutual affection, admiration, and artistry form a powerful confluence in these deeply affecting exchanges.
A remarkable window onto a literary friendship.
Both men are giants and these letters are gems. The audience for this exemplary collection should be legion.--Library Journal (starred review)