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100 Years Celebration of an Ever Young Writer.


Lect. univ. dr. Maria ALEXE Lect. univ. dr. Sebastian CHIRIMBU (coordonatori volum)

100 Years Celebration of an Ever Young Writer. Critical Essays on Tennessee Williams

Conference Proceedings

Descrierea CIP a Bibliotecii Naionale a Romniei 100 years celebration of an ever young writer : critical essays on Tennessee Williams / ed. coord.: Sebastian Chirimbu, Maria Alexe. Oradea : Editura Universitii Emanuel din Oradea, 2012 Bibliogr. ISBN 978-973-7791-85-6 I. Chirimbu, Sebastian (coord.) II. Alexe, Maria (coord.) 821.111(73).09 Williams,T.

Lucrarea este publicat cu avizul CENTRULUI DE CERCETRI i STUDII EUROPENE din cadrul Parteneriatului Instituional mbuntirea capacitii de

inserie a tinerilor pe piaa european a forei de munc prin intermediul programelor de formare, tehnologiei informaiei i comunicrii dezvoltat ntre Institutul Eudoxiu Hurmuzachi pentru Romnii de Pretutindeni (MAE), Fundaia Generation Europe Romania, Centrul Pro Europa, Centrul de Formare n Alternan Cefora, DPIPPCrevedia i Fundaia Profesia 2000+ (Liceul Teoretic Ecoprof) cu sprijinul Inspectoratului colar al Municipiului Bucureti (Direcia Alternative Educaionale) i CENTRULUI DE CERCETARE RELIGIE I TIIN Universitatea Emanuel din Oradea.

Editura UNIVERSITII EMANUEL DIN ORADEA este acreditat de Consiliul Naional al Cercetrii tiinifice din nvmntul Superior. Mai multe detalii putei obine la adresa:

Toate drepturile rezervate. Autorii sunt direct responsabili de alegerea i prezentarea datelor coninute n articole, de autenticitatea i originalitatea acestora, ct i de opiniile exprimate n articolele din volumul de fa. Continutul acestei lucrri este protejat prin Legea dreptului de autor L8/1996.

Organizatorii colocviului internaional dedicat Centenarului Tennessee Williams (15-17 decembrie 2011):

Facultatea de Utilaj Tehnologic (Catedra de Limbi Strine i Comunicare)- UTCB Centrul de Cercetri i Studii Europene - Parteneriatul Instituional ICIATPEFMPIPFTIC Institutul Eudoxiu Hurmuzachi pentru Romnii de Pretutindeni Centrul de Cercetare Religie i tiin Editura Universitii Emanuel din Oradea Inspectoratul colar al Municipiului Bucureti (Direcia Alternative Educaionale)

COMITETUL TIINIFIC (Scientific Committee) Lect. dr. Maria ALEXE coordonator centenar Tennessee Williams, Facultatea de Utilaj Tehnologic UTCB Con. univ. dr. Felix Narcis NICOLAU Decanul Facultii de Litere, Universitatea Hyperion Lect. dr. Ramona SIMU, Facultatea de Litere, Universitatea Emanuel din Oradea Lect. dr. Sebastian CHIRIMBU coordonator parteneriat instituional / Dept. Limbaje Specializate Universitatea Spiru Haret Lect. Amalia LEITES- Universitatea Federal din Santa Maria

COMITETUL DE ORGANIZARE (Organizing Committee) Lect. drd. Adina BARBU, Dept. Limbaje Specializate Universitatea Spiru Haret Lect. dr. Viorica BANCIU, Facultatea de tiine Socio-Umane, Universitatea din Oradea Prof. Ioana DUGAN, coala nr. 31, Bucureti

Acknowledgements This volume is a tribute to Tennessee Williams and it was designed on the occasion of the centennial celebration of his birthday. It consists of a collection of studies written by some specialists from different Romanian and foreign universities. The articles reflect different research fields, but all of them have in common a great admiration for Tennessee Williams innovative work, for the way in which he was capable to depict the American society and his understanding of the human soul. The articles are analyzing mainly Williams drama, but also his poetry and his Memoirs. One of the main purposes of our research was to demonstrate how actual Tennessee Williams work still is and how it is judge by postmodern audience and critics. We hope that this volume will contribute in a way or another to help our students, people in general to understand Tennessee Williams restless soul and beautiful work. It is also meant to contribute to a better knowledge of the complexity of his literary work. At the same time we are grateful to all people who have given us the possibility to research the wonderful world of Tennessee Williams and generously supported the publication of this volume: Professor PhD Zoia MANOLESCU- Head of Department - Department of Foreign Languages and Communication, Professor PhD Ion DAVID dean of the Faculty of Technological Equipment, Lecturer PhD Ramona SIMU general coordinator of EUO Publishing House, Professor Crengua PASCALE Deputy Inspector (ISMB) and Cristinel DUMITRU, general director of Eudoxiu Hurmuzachi Institute for Romanians from Everywhere.

Maria ALEXE and Sebastian CHIRIMBU

JUST ABOUT TENNESSEE WILLIAMS Maria ALEXE, lecturer PhD Technical University of Civil Engineering, Bucharest

In 20011 the whole world celebrated 100 years since Tennessee Williams who is today acknowledged as one of the most accomplished playwrights in the history of English speaking theatre, was born in Columbus, Mississippi, the second child of Edwina and Cornelius Coffin (C.C.) Williams. Along the year 2011, theatres, cinemas or universities organized a lot of events to honor his work.

Tennessee Williams whose real name was Thomas Lanier Williams III is an American writer who worked principally as a playwright in the American theatre. His work is a complex one, as he also wrote short stories, novels, poetry, essays, screenplays and a volume of memoirs.

His professional career lasted from the mid 1930s until his death in 1983. Many of his plays are regarded as classics of the American stage, but he was not a successful writer from the very beginning, his first great success Glass Menagerie was in 1944. Williams adapted much of his best known work for the cinema. As mentions in his autobiographical book, Memoirs of an Old Crocodile, Tennessee had a happy childhood, even if his family was not a rich one and they had to move from one place to another due to all sort of financial problems. Tom, as he used to be call in his childhood, never had a brilliant relationship with his father, a hard-drinking travelling shoe salesman, who spent most of his time away from home and who did not encourage him writing. Tennessee Williams loved his mother, Edwina, who was an archetype of the Southern belle. He called her Mrs. Edwina and had tolerant attitude concerning her behavior which quite often was neurotic and hysterical. He was very close to his maternal grandparents and long periods in his early childhood were spent in their house in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Tennessee Williams developed a close bond with his sister Rose. When a young girl Rose was diagnosed with schizophrenia and later institutionalized following a lobotomy, and she spent most of her adult life in health institutions. Her brother visited her as often as he could and paid for her care. Rose is considered to the model for some of Tennessee Williams most remarkable characters. Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was understood to be modeled on Rose. Some biographers

believed that the character of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire is also based on her. Between 1948 and 1959 seven of his plays were performed on Broadway: Summer and Smoke (1948), The Rose Tattoo (1951), Camino Real (1953), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Orpheus Descending (1957), Garden District (1958), and Sweet Bird of Youth (1959). By 1959 he had earned two Pulitzer Prizes, three New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards, three Donaldson Awards, and a Tony Award. This decade was the best of his literary career. The 1940s and 50s were a period of global success, on the other hand the 1960s and 70s brought personal problems and theatrical failures. Critics and audiences alike may have failed to acknowledge Williams' new style and innovative approach to theatre he developed during 1960s and were redundant to accept daring and different work, much more critical. Williams said, Ive been working like a son of a bitch since 1969 to make an artistic comebackthere is no release short of death(Spoto 335), and I want to warn you, Elliot, the critics are out to get me. Youll see how vicious they are. They make comparisons with my earlier work, but Im writing differently now (Spoto 331)1. His personal life was not happy either. It was in this period that Williams long-time companion, Frank Merlo, died of cancer. This lost caused him a deep depression and Tennessee Williams began to depend more and more on alcohol and drugs and though he continued to write,

Spoto, Donald. The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press, 1997,

completing a book of short stories and another plays like The Night of the Iguana. The film, on the other hand, was a great success, probably because the main roles were interpreted by Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborach Kerr2. In 1969 his depression was so severe and he became totally deepened on alcohol and drugs so he was hospitalized by his brother. He managed to recover by writing his Memoirs. In 1975 he published Memoirs, which detailed his life telling stories about him and his friends and family and discussed his addiction to drugs and alcohol, as well as his homosexuality. It is in this book that the writer expresses his opinion that sincerity and honesty have to be the major aim of any writer. In 1980 Williams wrote Clothes for a Summer Hotel, based on the lives of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but this was not a great success and once again the writer was disappointed that the audience did not fallow him. Only three years later, Tennessee Williams died in a New York City hotel, (in his suite at the Elysee Hotel) on February the 25th. He was only 71 years old and it is most probably that the use of drugs and alcohol may have contributed to his death. Contrary to his expressed wishes (he wanted to be buried by the sea) but at his brother Dakin Williams' insistence, Tennessee Williams was interred in the Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri

It won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Costume Design, and was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography. Actress Grayson Hall received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and Cyril Delevanti received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor

For his attitude and mainly for his opinion expressed in Memoirs, Tennessee Williams was blacklisted by Roman Catholic Church, which condemned his books and his scripts as revolting, deplorable, morally repellent, and offensive to Christian standards of decency. Despite the reserved attitude the critics had during his life, today he is considered to one of the greatest American writers. Theatre scholar Charlotte Canning, of the University of Texas at Austin where Williams' archives are located, wrote, "There is no more influential 20th-century American playwright than Tennessee Williams... He inspired future generations of writers as diverse as SuzanLori Parks, Tony Kushner, David Mamet and John Waters, and his plays remain among the most produced in the world3.

Bibliography Spoto, Donald. The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press, 1997 Alexe, Maria Faa mai puin cunoscut a unui dramaturg Tennessee Williams Memorii, CD Lucrrile prezentate n sesiunea omagial din cadrul Sinuc 2011, Bucureti, 15-16 decembrie, p 7-11

"Becoming Tennessee Williams" Exhibit at the University of Texas, Austin, Feb. 1 to July 31, 2011



Tennessee Williams is perhaps, after O'Neill, the best dramatist the United States has yet produced4. Born in his grandfather's rectory in Columbus, Mississippi, Williams and his family later moved to St. Louis. There Williams endured many bad years caused by the abuse of his father and his own anguish over his introverted sister, who was later permanently institutionalized. Williams attended the University of Missouri, and, after time out to clerk for a shoe company and for his own mental breakdown, also attended Washington University of St. Louis and the University of Iowa, from which he graduated in 1938. Williams began to write plays in 1935. During 1943 he spent six months as a contract screenwriter for MGM but produced only one script, The Gentleman Caller. When MGM rejected it, Williams turned it into his first major success, The Glass Menagerie (1945). In this intensely autobiographical play, Williams dramatizes the story of Amanda, who dreams of restoring her lost past by finding a gentleman caller for her crippled daughter, and of Amanda's son Tom, who longs to escape from the responsibility of supporting his mother and sister. After The Glass Menagerie, Williams

4 Online source available at ( accessed 22.02.2012)


wrote his masterpiece, A Streetcar Named Desire, (1947), along with a steady stream of other plays, among them such major works as Summer and Smoke (1948), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1954), and Suddenly Last Summer (1958). His plays celebrate the "fugitive kind," the sensitive outcasts whose outsider status allows them to perceive the horror of the world and who often give additional witness to that horror by becoming its victims. Stephen S. Stanton has summed up Williams's "virtues and strengths" as "a genius for portraiture, particularly of women, a sensitive ear for dialogue and the rhythms of natural speech, a comic talent often manifesting itself in "black comedy,' and a genuine theatrical flair exhibited in telling stage effects attained through lighting, costume, music, and movements." After The Night of the Iguana (1961), Williams continued to write profusely---and constantly to revise his work---but it became more difficult to get productions of his plays and, if they were produced, to win critical or popular acclaim for them. In 2011 the whole world, not only the Theatrical one, honored Tennessee Williams for the celebration of his birth. 100 years have past since he was born and around half a century from the first representations of his most staged plays Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Cat on a Tin Roof or Sweet Bird of Youth. Tennessee Williams s theatre has enjoyed a steady appreciation in our country, as evidenced by the large number of translated pieces, mounted and played on the Romanian scene continues to maintain freshness and to capture public attention because of the originality of the message and addressed topics but also due to the artistic skill of the author.


If we add the scenic virtues of Tennessee Williamss drama that skillfully mastered the art of dramatic composition, one can understand why his plays are still the attention of specialists and theater lovers from all over the world. The interest of different personalities belonging to the Romanian culture hasnt been reduced to the theoretical study of his theater. They got involved with enthusiasm and dedication in the work of translation and popularization of the high sensitivity of the theater through the stage. Romanian readers have had the opportunity to know more of the work of Tennessee Williams due to the initiative of a group of specialists of high value and Mihnea Gheorghiu, Anda Boldur, Dorin Dron, Simona Drghici, Antoaneta Ralian which were close to a work whose content and form vigorous qualities were revealed correctly and consistently, being perceived avidly in a variety of shapes and arrangements. A brief review of translations of Tennessee Williams's drama reveals dramatic contact with his creation and its reception followed a specific way - with the necessary exceptions, of course: a critical approach to representation on the stage and then spreading, through translations, volume or cultural periodicals.


According to R.Pioariu (2003: 268), the quality of translation has also said the word in the consecration of Tennessee Williams on the Romanian scene, where he earned a unique position, notwithstanding, continues to resist the test of time and delight new generations of viewers. Value aspect of the translation of Orpheus Descending is repeated numerous times by renowned theatrical chroniclers highlight "the pen literary man as talented and skilled human drama and literary connaisseur landscape that corresponds to piece".javascript:void(0) Tennessee Williamss foray into drama out strongly in evidence invaluable role played by translators specialized or in Romanian theater, active scholars, enthusiasts, with huge energy resources and a recognized professional in Romanian cultural world, which it put permanent imprint on the work translated into our language and contribute - certainly to the penetration the public consciousness in Romania. The writer who made his reputation with nostalgic, yet critical plays about the South was translated in Romanian in the 60 by Mihnea Gheorghiu, then by Cezar Ivnescu and in 2011 by Antoaneta Radian. Art Publishing House initiated a series of the American writer work as it published a volume which included two of his plays A Streetcar Named Desire and A Cat on a Tin Roof as well as Memoirs of an Old crocodile. The last translation is the first edition in Romanian of Williams autobiographical work. Those translations were used to stage his play on some of the most prestigious theatre in Romania. In 2010 Ioana Ieronim and Rodica Ftulescu translated in Romanian A House not Meant to Stand. This was a translation was made according to other criteria then those of other of Williams plays; it is a


translation which tried to take into consideration all the multicultural aspects of the text. Therefore the title is not translated, but adapted as Doamna nastr din Pasacagoula. In January 2012, the Romanian audience faced another new approach to Tennessee Williamss work. Liana Ceterchi translated and then directed the performance with: The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Williams novel which was adapted for theatre by Martin Sherman It is quite impossible to make a list with all of Tennessee Williams plays that have been seen by Romanian audience all over the country.

Therefore some of the most recent will be mentioned. 1962 Bucharest / Cluj National Theatre- Orpheus Descending 1966- Bucharest National Theatre - A Streetcar Named Desire 1972- Bucharest National Theatre - Sweet Bird of Youth 2005 Bucharest National Theatre - Sweet Bird of Youth director Tudor Mrescu 2006 - Bucharest National Theatre Glass Menagerie, director Ctlina Buzoianu 2008 Sibiu National Theatre Auto Da Fe5 - director Christian Popescu 2010 Teatrul Mic Bucharest A House not Meant to Stand director Florin Ftulescu

One act play written in the 40s


2012 - Teatrul Mic Bucharest The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Williams novel adapted for theatre by Martin Sherman, director Liana Ceterchi.

Williams won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for these two and for The Glass Menagerie and The Night of the Iguana. In Romania, the performances of Bucharest National Theatre and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone are included in the repertoire of the season 2011-2012. This fact can be considered as a proof of the fact that Romanian public still love Tennessee Williams theatre.

Bibliography Chirimbu, S., Chirimbu, D., Brief Encounter with World Cinema, Iai: Docucenter, 2011 Pioariu, R., Arthur Miller i Tenessee Williams n traduceri romneti n revista Philologica, tom 2, 2003 (surs online consultat m2/43.pioariu_rodica.pdf) Pioariu, R., Dramaturgia american n Rom nia. Eugene O`Neill, Arthur Miller, Tenessee Williams; Cluj Napoca:Risoprint, 2004.



Irina-Ana DROBOT PhD candidate, Assistant Professor Department of Foreign Languages and Communication Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest

Abstract The purpose of this paper is to analyze issues of tension related to cultural differences in Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire. Although Williams is a non-political writer, who focuses on emotional issues, there is cultural conflict in his play. The paper will analyze the influence of the cultural past of the Old South on Stella and Blanche. This influence brings tensions at some point in the relationship between Stella and Stanley and, mostly, between Blanche and Stanley. For Blanche, however, it is not the actual Old South but her dreams of this lifestyle that are important for her. Keywords: Old South, New South, dreams, conflict

Motivation Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire illustrates the time when the Old South and its values are gone. However, those who were educated in those past times still live under the influence of the values and education connected with the Old South. A first, visible example is Blanche Dubois. She stands out among the inhabitants of New Orleans, where she came to visit her sister. Her lifestyle and value differentiate her, or at least apparently. Most of what she says about herself are lies or illusions. With Blanche, the influence of her past


education is much more pronounced than with her sister, Stella. However, with the presence of Blanche in their house, Stella defends her sister from her husbands suspicions and accusations. She sees her sister Blanche according to the Old South values. This generates tensions between her and her husband Stanley. With Blanche, Stanley is in a continuous conflict due to her lies through which Stanley sees very clearly. What is more, Blanche behaves like a lady from the Old South in his home, which brings him to behave in an irritated way, urging her to stop pretending. Later in the play, Stanley expresses his wish that everything returns to normal in his house and between him and his wife, like it was at the time before Blanche arrived. Blanche seems to bring in their house tensions together with her old values and behavior. She also interferes in their lives and seems to have an influence on Stella which leads to tensions between her and Stanley at times. This paper will look at situations in the play where tensions arise between characters due to cultural differences. The way the past influences more or less the characters in the play has a significant part in shaping cultural differences.

Past education and its influences The play is set during the period after World War II, in New Orleans. Stella tries to explain to Stanley the differences between two cultures: youve got to realize that Blanche and I grew up under very different circumstances than you did (scene VII). In doing this, she tries


to stop the tensions between Stanley and Blanche. However, these cultural differences also bring tensions between Stella and her husband. Stella refers to the influence of the education of the Old South, which is different from the one of the New South, to which Stanley belongs. From the point of view of education, Stella and Blanche come from a dying world, the Old South. The two sisters are the last living members of the old aristocratic family. Stanley doesnt see the reasons for conflict as coming from cultural differences as much as from Blanches wish to deceive them, to tell them both lies. Stanley finds Blanches habits inappropriate, such as her spending the whole afternoon in the bathtub on her birthday. He despises the Southern Belle, a role which Blanche cant abandon as she has been educated in this way. He sees it all as artificial, as pretending, as a way to cover lies. He replies to Stella, in a sarcastic manner: And you run out an' get her cokes, I suppose? And serve 'em to Her Majesty in the tub? Blanches behavior upsets him, as it does not coincide with the reality he knows. It is the same with Blanche: STELLA: Stanley, stop picking on Blanche. STANLEY: That girl calls me common! Blanche disapproves of the relationship between Stanley and her sister. This is another instance of Blanches holding on to the past, with its image of chivalry. Stanley does not fit in her dreams of the Old South, and neither does his house which is situated in a poor neighborhood. This difference of cultures, which Stella has overlooked, generates tensions between Blanche and herself. They have different views. Blanche still


holds on to the past values, while Stella doesnt see them as significant any more, at least as far as her relationship with Stanley and her acceptance of the present life conditions are concerned. Stella is of a different opinion than Blanche following her being beaten by her drunk husband Stanley. Stella forgives him and refuses to leave him, as Blanche tries to convince her to do. To Blanche, this is unacceptable. She is influenced in her views by her past Southern education, while Stella is less if at all influenced by this education in making her decisions. Stella wishes to stop the tensions between her husband and her sister. She tries to explain to Stanley how he should behave towards Blanche, who is sensitive; however, to Stanley, this only sounds like a way to see his authority in his house undermined, to see his wife as trying to order to him what to do.

The influence of past education is not so visible with Stella. She has not identified with the Southern Belle, as her sister has done. Stella is, however, Blanches younger sister and it is possible that it was because of this that the past education did not have such an impact on her. Stella has


given up her past and has adapted very well to life together with Stanley, who has had a different education. To Stella, her sisters arrival serves as a kind of reminder about her past education. She tries to teach Stanley the rules of another culture, a culture in which Blanche and herself had grew in and which has had a greater influence on Blanche. Stanley, however, doesnt like receiving orders from his wife, being made to feel inferior due to his education and also not fooled by Blanches lies. Blanche even goes as far as imposing the rules of the Old South in Stanleys home, which leads to a strengthening of the tensions. She wishes to be treated like a Southern Belle, to be served, to be complimented. Her sister tries to make her feel comfortable as she cares for her and tries to make Stanley do the same. Blanches arrival brings about a change of rules, of manners or an attempt in this direction in Stanleys home, which he doesnt approve of. Until Blanches arrival, his wife Stella had always respected his rules, the ones which were familiar to him from his past education and which had nothing to do with the values of the Old South.

The Southern Belle: role-playing and deceit What Blanche brings, mostly, from the Old South with the ideal of the Southern Belle are illusions, or, as Stanley thinks, lies. The cultural conflicts which Stella sees between Stanley and Blanche are, in Stanleys view, conflicts caused by Blanches lies. He sees Blanche as preoccupied with her role-play in order to deceive both Stella and him. He believes that Blanche did not lose Belle-


Reve, the family plantation, but sold it and bought all her expensive clothes and jewelry and that she wishes to swindle them both of their share. What is more, Blanche has a questionable past but she makes Mitch, Stanleys friend, to believe that she is a true Southern-Belle: STANLEY: Lie Number One: All this squeamishness she puts on! You should just know the line she's been feeding to Mitch--He thought she had never been more than kissed by a fellow! But Sister Blanche is no lily! Ha-ha! Some lily she is! (scene VII).

Stanley also sees Blanche as trying to deceive Stella as well: STELLA: What--contemptible--lies! STANLEY: Sure, I can see how you would be upset by this. She pulled the wool over your eyes as much as Mitch's! (scene VII). Blanche uses the influence of the past, concerning both education and life together with her sister, in order to act in such a way so that Stella believes everything she says. Stella doesnt suspect anything.


She cares about her sister and she doesnt wish to search for the truth, for what is hidden under her role-play as the Southern Belle. The Southern Belle is, after all, an ideal they had both known due to their past education and which still shows its influence on each of them, one way or another. Stanley doesnt have any respect for and is not impressed by the ideal of the Southern Belle. On the contrary, he sees this ideal as Blanche plays it as something false, as an act put on to deceive the others. He is a rising member of the industrial class, with unrefined Polish heritage. Stanley refuses to play any part. He refuses to act as what would resemble a Southern gentleman, as his wife Stella asks him to do when he should be nice to Blanche. Stanley is natural, he is straightforward, he refuses to pretend even that he doesnt understand what Blanche is, was or what she is up to: STANLEY: If I didn't know that you was my wife's sister I'd get ideas about you! BLANCHE: Such as what! STANLEY: Don't play so dumb. You know what! Whenever he has something to say, he doesnt hesitate to say it. He tells his wife Stella his honest opinion on her sister and his honest suspicions about her. In doing so, he tries to protect Stella from Blanches illusions and the influence they have on Stella. Stanley tries to make Stella see the truth about Blanche when he points out to her the riches Blanche seems to have in her trunks: STANLEY: Open your eyes to this stuff! You think she got them out of a teacher's pay?


He doesnt believe that Belle Reve was lost, as Blanche claims. He goes on, trying to make Stella see the truth: STANLEY: And what have we here? The treasure chest of a pirate! STELLA: Oh, Stanley! STANLEY: Pearls! Ropes of them! What is this sister of yours, a deep-sea diver who brings up sunken treasure? Or is she the champion safe-cracker of all time! Bracelets of solid gold, too! Where are your pearls and gold bracelets? STELLA: Shhh ! Be still, Stanley! STANLEY: And diamonds! A crown for an empress! STELLA: A rhinestone tiara she wore to a costume ball. STANLEY: What's rhinestone? STELLA: Next door to glass. STANLEY: Are you kidding? I have an acquaintance that works in a jewellery store. I'll have him in here to make an appraisal of this. Here's your plantation, or what was left of it, here! STELLA: You have no idea how stupid and horrid you're being! Now close that trunk before she comes out of the bathroom! Blanches presence leads to tensions between Stanley and Stella, regarding the truth of Blanches words. Stella cant suspect Blanche of being a liar. She defends her sister, while disagreeing with her husband. All of Blanches possessions, however, prove not to be valuable in the end. They are only part of her way of deceiving others and even more so herself in her dreams of the Southern Belle and of a rich life.


Even if she is as poor as her sister and her husband, she still wishes to preserve the illusion of her rich life as an aristocratic Southern lady. To Blanche, role-playing and illusions are important in her view of seduction. Stanley, however, shares a different opinion: BLANCHE: I cannot imagine any witch of a woman casting a spell over you. STANLEY: That's right. BLANCHE: You're simple, straightforward and honest, a little bit on the primitive side I should think. To interest you a woman would have to-[She pauses with an indefinite gesture.] STANLEY [slowly]: Lay... her cards on the table. To Stanley, the ideal of the Southern Belle is unknown from his past education and, what is more, not or no longer valid. Stanley is said to represent the New South, with its new rules. He is part of a different world, as Blanche herself notices. He wont let himself be deceived or seduced by her: STANLEY [booming]: Now let's cut the re-bop? Stanley exposes the falsity of the ideal of the Southern Belle as embodied by Blanche. He mocks her acting of this role. In the 1930s, authors began to deconstruct the myth of the fading Southern Belle. Tennessee Williams does so through Stanley, who ridicules and suspects Blanche of deceit. Even more so, he checks on her past and makes use of facts in order to expose her lies.


The influence of culture on individual values Ones behavior is influenced by ones values. However, values are there if a certain cultural way of life is accepted or not by the individual, function of his individual, not cultural values: Values are an important aspect of human behavior. Rokeach (1972) suggests that people have values if they have enduring beliefs "that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to alternative modes of conduct or end-states of existence" (pp. 159-160). Ball-Rokeach, Rokeach, and Grube (1984) argue that values are the central core to individuals' personalities and have a direct effect on behavior. They contend that values serve as the major component of the personality that helps individuals maintain and enhance their self esteem. (Gudykunst, Nishida 1999-2000: 1). The two cultures, the ones of the Old and of the New South, will impose different values on the characters in the play. Blanche remains faithful to the values of the Old South, while Stanley to the ones of the New South. Stella gives up the values of the Old South as she is in love with Stanley and accepts new values and a new lifestyle. However, she doesnt despise the old values as embodied in her sister Blanche. She shows respect for the old ways, to the point where she is even deceived by her sisters lies. Blanche cant adapt to the new world, and what is more, she doesnt even wish to. She chooses to live in a make-believe world because it is not so painful (she wants to retain her Southern aristocratic lifestyle). She clings to her belief in chivalry, taking refuge in illusions. Blanche also cant really understand someone elses values as


she tells her sister what she thinks of her husband Stanley. Blanche cant understand how Stella cant hold on to her Old Southern education values as she does. Individuals behavior is affected by cultural values and the individual values they hold. (Gudykunst, Nishida 1999-2000: 1-2). This explains Stellas change of lifestyle and acceptance of Stanleys rules. She is able to give up her past education due to her individual values. Her love for Stanley makes her accept another view, another culture together with its values. It is also because of her individual values that she still respects the old cultural values embodied in her sister and, even more so, her sisters individual values. She believes Blanche is sensitive and tries to make Stanley be nice to her and respectful of her culture. Stanleys values, however, are different. Leaving his different culture aside, his individual values tell him to despise anyone willing to deceive him. It is mostly because of Blanches way of deceing the others that he doesnt like her and makes him go into conflict with her and with his wife. It is because of Stellas individual values that she cant believe Blanche when she tells her that she was raped by her husband Stanley. This can also be seen in terms of a conflict between the two sisters. Blanche tells the truth, yet her sisters individual values are not compatible with believing such thing. She cant imagine her husband Stanley doing something like that. Such values, or such judgements, may be seen as influenced by the characters psychological makeup, or, as psychoanalysis claims, by their unconscious wishes and motivations. Due to their individual values and psychological makeup, characters may


attach more or less importance to cultural values or reject them altogether. Sometimes, cultural values may coincide with individual values, as in the case of Stanley or be made into an illusion of such a coincidence as in the case of Blanche. Blanche not only deceives others into believing her to illustrate the ideal of the Southern Belle; she also believes in another kind of reality and lives in it.

Conclusions After the last memories of his wifes past, embodied by Blanche, disappear from his house, Stanleys life returns to normal. The tensions between him and his wife due, after all, to the presence of Blanche disappear. Blanche represents the Old Southern values and way of life which Stella had left behind as she had accepted Stanleys values, culture, rules and way of life. As she still respects Blanche and the old values and way of life, she tries to make Blanche feel comfortable and even explain to Stanley to behave in a nice way to her sister. Rokeachs claim that individuals will hold on to certain beliefs if they prefer such a way of life explains the conduct of the characters in this play. Stanley and Blanche hold on to their beliefs and values, as this suits them, while Stella changes her beliefs and values as she is in love with Stanley and wishes to live together with him. Ball-Rokeach, Rokeach, and Grube, who claim that values have a great influence on someones behavior, can very well explain by their theory how such values which are due to someones culture can lead to


tensions, if these cultures and values are different. Stanleys cultural values are very different from Blanches. They would have been different from his wifes too, but Stella has chosen to let go of her past values, those of the Old South. Even so, she still respects Blanches old cultural values and she wouldnt wish to get into conflict with her. Instead, Blanche cant understand her choice, referring to her poor lifestyle with Stanley who is not a gentleman, in her view. She goes as far as trying to persuade Stella to leave Stanley after he beats her while drunk one night. Stella, however, sticks to her individual values and remains together with her husband until the end of the play. Stanley himself has no respect for Blanche, out of his individual values rather than out of his cultural ones. References Gudykunst, William B., Nishida, Tsukasa. The Influence of Culture and Strength of Cultural Identity on Individual Values in Japan and the United States, Intercultural Communication Studies IX:1 1999-2000, dykunst%20&%20Tsukasa%20Nishida.pdf Smith, Nicholas A. Idealism and Insanity: the Subversion of the Southern Belle through Blanche DuBois: Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire.



Anca ALBANI, lecturer PhD National University of Arts Bucharest

Abstract Tennessee Williams is one of the greatest American playwrights, his work full of passion standing against solitude and being in the third millennium as interesting and fresh as it was at its first performance. They came out of despair and fear but finally they communicate the authors trust in human nature. Translated in Romanian soon after they were staged in USA, his plays were for the Romanian audience always a constant joy as well as an opportunity for deep reflection. As for stage designers and directors Tennessee Williams drama was and still is a challenge. This paper presents the vision of a stage designer upon Tennessee Williams world, there for all the elements used by the writer to underline his attitude and conceptions are going to be stressed. Key words: American literature, playwright, stage design, psychotic

I think that Tennessee Williams is in some of his plays a great writer (...) and it is impossible for me to separte this qualification as a great writer of the artists ability to capture the deep social phenomenon which surround" Liviu Ciulei General Background One hundred years after his birth, Tennessee Williams is considered to be one of the most gifted American contemporary writers, one whose deep sincerity as well as sharp sense of observation depicted a real world, without any compromise but with great love and tenderness.


Considered to be immoral, because of his homosexuality and addiction to drugs and alcohol, Williams was, by his writing, a fighter for traditional moral values of America. There is a lot of passion and many dreams in his plays, an attitude which stands a protest versus solitude and loneliness of his contemporary society and may be indentified in 21st. century society as well.

Due to their original message and topic as well as their freshness, his most popular plays: Glass Menagerie6, Sweet Bird of Youth7, A House not Meant to Stand8 were played during many seasons on Bucharest theatres. Other plays, less known by the large public, like Auto- Da-Fe9 one act play or Out Cry

were staged for Romanian

theatre in the last decades. The recent show is that which can be seen in the season 2011-2012, at Teatru Mic after Tennessee Williams single

6 Directed by Catalina Buzoianu for National Theatre Bucharest in 2006 (still in the repertoire) 7 Directed by Tudor Marescu for National Theare Bucharest 2005- (still in the repertoire) 8 This is T.Williams last play -1982 and was directed for Teatrul Mic by Florin Fatulescu in 2010. The title of the play was not translated by the transtaors of the play Ioana Ieronim and Rodica Fatulecu- it was addapte as Doamna noastra din Pascagoalia. 9 Directed for Sibiu National theare by Christian Popescu in 2008 10 Directed for theatre Eugen Ionescu Chiinu.


novel The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone. This admiration of the Romanian public for Williams plays is due to the fact they proof a good knowledge of theatrical balance, vivid dialogues and a well designed atmosphere.

Romanian interpretation of Tennessee Williams Theatre In Romania Tennessee Williams has become a famous author by his play The Glass Menagerie, first staged then published (1978) with a foreword signed by Mihnea Gheorghiu- in the volume two other wellknown plays were included: Orpheus Descending translated by Mihnea Gheorghiu and Camino real translated in Romanian by Dana Criv. A Romanian version of Orpheus Descending was published in 1961, in the prestigious cultural magazine Secolul XX, translated by Mihnea Gheorghiu. It was this version edited by in the prestigious literary magazine that it was used for the performances of Bucharest and Cluj National Theatres in spring of 1962. Reviewing some of the performances based on Williams play Orpheus Descending, it is obvious that this play offered some of the most spectacular performances, due to the fact that the text is a very resourceful one, offering to the director and the stage designer a large number of possible interpretations. Orpheus Descending shows a clear image of post-war America and not only, a place where happiness often grows in the crime shadow. As in most of the writers play he is concerned about the mans destiny and depicted the great courage of some people who are strong enough to fight their destiny. Tennessee Williams favorite play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof one for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955, has much in


common with other works he wrote on similar topics. Like other American writers (Anderson), Williams tries to reveal the shadow part of the society. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the story of a Southern family in crisis (relationship between husband and wife), Brick and Margaret (usually called Maggie or "Maggie the Cat"), and their interaction with Brick's family over the course of one evening gathering at the family estate in Mississippi. The way in which the writer reveals the psychological aspects and their influence upon family life is remarkable, he dares to show pathological sides of psychological profiles. There are elements which offered to directors and stage designers large possibility of interpretation and of creative analysis. In his plays Tennessee Williams creates characters trying to escape from a world suffocated by violence, despair, fear, ugliness, elements leading to alienation. Especially in Orpheus Descending is a play about despair which starts with an image in which he depicts imagine of a human destiny tortured by loneliness and despaired. Social condition which can be easily recognized in 21st. century reality, are creating the background of most of T. Williams dramas: people forced by circumstances to sell themselves, people without moral values, and people governed by hypocrisy, hate, racism, and living without love and care for one another.

Notes of a Stage Designer Associating lab experiences and unusual subjects show Tennessee Williams intention to shock and to induce strong and unpleasant reactions among his audience and readers. This can be


considered as a psychedelic element used with a great talent in many of his play, always at the right moment in order to reveal his deepest intentions. Being so innovative, shocking due to the large use of psychological elements, Williams plays are more appealing to the future then they were for his contemporaries, they are plays for the next millennium. Tennessee Williams palette consists mainly by two primary colours; sometimes diversify in tones and halftones. This palette contributes to the understanding of his favorite psychological method of building up characters so that their social condition as well as the dram they pass through should be observed by the audience. It is hard to say, in the case of contemporary stage design if this type of atmosphere depicted by the palette emerging from the text in order to underline the characters social condition would lead to create horror images so fashionable today, that type of images that may be encouraged by the media due to their commercial value. A short review of Tennessee Williams translation in Romanian for plays like A Car Street Named Desire (1947), Summer and Smoke and The Iguana Night (1961) reveals the fact that his theatre is not easy to understand. Watching his plays and understanding his dramatic creation as well as the impact it has on audience has to fallow a well designed pass and the way in which the stage designer as well as the director are doing it is of major importance. The impact of his work as well as the way in which his plays were accepted by the public were influenced by the fact that most of Tennessee Williams work was turned into famous movies made by great directors and played by actors as Richard Burton,


Geraldine Page, Ava Gardner, Elisabeth Taylor, Ana Magnani. At the same time all those movies are a challenge for future directors, actors or stage designers who want to recreate the tragic of his theatre.

Conclusions Tennessee Williams is the author of social drams inspired by reality, being himself part of the restless soul of modern fellow. He believes that the final solution for him as for his character is to fight for truth and self determination. His favorite characters with their fears and violence, the location of his plays, the palette of the general atmosphere are part of contemporary world show. His theatre creates a dark atmosphere by depicting in a precise way the South, with its intolerant social conventions and prejudices. Today 100 after they were staged Tennessee Williams theatre is as surprising and fresh as they used to be. The tragic condition of his characters unable to get use with their tragic condition is as challenging for people of the third millennium as they were in the 40 and in the 50. His characters are desperate people clinging to all opportunities to save themselves from the hell they are living every day. Tennessee Williams theatre and his characters are travelling in A streetcar named desire", and we are travelling with them taking any vehicle able to drive to freedom, to unable us and them to escape from a situations which keeps us prison to prejudices and to ourself cloister situation. His fear is still with us, maybe we are not capable to find the out and desired freedom.


Psychotic is a kind of untouchable Mecca, a fantasy, Fata Morgana, an unreachable hope or desire to which we all continue to dream.

References Drobot, Ana Irina - Cultural Differences and Tensions in A Carstreet Named Desire, CD Lucrrile prezentate n sesiunea omagial din cadrul Sinuc 2011, Bucureti, 15-16 decembrie. Jackson, M. Eather Tennessee Williams in vol The American Theatre Today, Basic Books, Inc. Publishers, New-York, London, 1977 Fisher, Heinz-Dietrich et allia - The Pulitzer Prize Archive- A History of Awards Materials in: Journalism, Letters and Arts, Munchen K Sour G Leverich, Lyle. Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams. W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition Gudykunst, William B., Nishida, Tsukasa. The Influence of Culture and Strength of Cultural Identity on Individual Values in Japan and the United States, Intercultural Communication Studies IX:1 1999-2000


THE KNOTTY COMPLEXITY OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS WORK. A VIEW ON HIS POEM Mihaela IONESCU, PhD Associate Professor Dana RADU, Assistant Professor Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest

Abstract The paper analyses the knotty complexity of Tennessee Williams work according to a closer look at his poems. Suggestions were made that his poetry while less known was a necessary piece to the unity of his work. As a proof stand the analyses of some of his poems that although represent for some the least of his literary achievements behind the plays and letters deserve to be known better and preserved in inclusive volumes. Key words: poetry, complexity, literature, playwright

Introduction The famous American playwright Tennessee Williams (1911 1983) always considered himself primarily a poet and the theatre goers were surely aware that everywhere in his dramatic work there was an intense lyricism and a language straining toward poetic effects. That is why any new research in Tennessee Williams poetic endeavour can only result in a new perspective of the complexity of the work of the famous playwright. The record of his life, the authors own assertions as well as those of his friends and all those who knew him have to be considered. More over posthumous discoveries were made rendering to the public astonishing remaining pieces of evidence of the knotty complexity of his artistic works .The interest and the hope to make new valuable contributions inflame the researchers in their effort.


The Playwright as a Poet Tennessee Williams, the great play writer, author of three dozen of full length plays, 70 1 act plays, 5 screenplays, 2 novels and hundreds of short stories started his carrier with poetry and continued to write poetry all his life. It is exactly because he wrote verse before becoming famous that Williams often uses poetry as an intertext as Thomas .P. Adler11 calls it for his theatrical production. Epigraphs from authors as Sappho, Dante, Rimbaud, and Yeats can be found in many of his plays. Poetic texts can be found as such in many plays as Summer and Smoke (1948), The Night of the Iguana (1961), Something Cloudy, Something Clear (1981). The famous play writer started to write poetry as early as the 9th grade and by 1934, according to Lyle Leverich, (1997) the author of Tom the Unknown Tennessee Williams12, his poems had appeared in important literary magazines as the one called Poetry Magazine, where he stared to publish when he was 25 years old. In the Preface to My Poems13 Tennessee Williams calls his poetry a sort of spiritual witness of an unattached and nomadic existence of 6 or 8 years duration. For him poetry was also felt in consonance with William Wordsworths definition of Poetry as the spontaneous overflow of Lyle,Leverich- Tom the Unknown Tennessee Williams (.1997) New York ,. Norton& Company 13 Tennee,Williams Preface to My Poems in vol Where I live Selected Essays (,1978), New York ,New Directions, p 1



powerful feelings and it takes its origin from emotion recollection in tranquility The volumes of poetry collections The Winter of the City 1954 and Androgyny, mon Amour 1981 brought him the deserved fame.

What Kind of Poet was Tennessee Williams? He was a famous playwright who wrote poesy all life long, may be considering poetry as Mathew Arnold did as the most beautiful, impressive and widely effective mode of saying things . After his death,Tennessee Williams glory was so astonishing that he was included in the Poets Corner at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine If it is to classify him in a strict poetic category he can be considered as he himself has recognized to be in his early years : a) A Poet Vagabond

That in 1939 has left New Orleans in the Ford of a friend for the territory having the vision of himself as a vagabond poet in the manner of Vachel Linsay, the father of modern singing poetry who was


known in the 1920 as a prairie troubadour since he travelled a lot as a performance artist. Williams was known to have read Vasher Lindsays Biography written by Edgar Lee Masters. The book had touched him deeply, probably because it consisted of familiar characters and places that were according to his own mood. It resonated with Williams because there were a number of parallels: - both belonged to proud families with strong religious heritage, patronized by a powerful father who involuntarily pushed the errant son to find a sensible way to earn a living, while mother insisted he finds a vocation and nurtured in him a love of the arts , encouraging the sensitive side of the growing boy. Lindsay had travelled a lot in three separated periods, in three different regions of America trying to sell his poems that he recited in return for room and board. Somewhat later, Tennessee Williams covered a large territory himself, much of it on the bicycle or in the car of his friend Jim Parrot who earned a bit of money playing with local musical groups until he had his clarinet stolen. Salvation came from local newspapers to which Williams applied for small donations for his poems and mainly from his mothers many small checks she had sent him not to let him really pauper. This vagabond experience, romanticized by Williams in his public biography and used later in his Memoirs, ended in august 1939


According to Nancy Tischler14(1961) in a letter addressed to Audrey Wood, his future agent, on May 5th 1939 Williams decided to turn to play writing since he realized there was no market for poetry. He writes he had just returned from a rural Mexico and South California coast-line bicycle tour and he intended to settle for a year and devote himself to writing one long, careful play b) Tennessee Williams as a Romantic Poet

The future playwright in his earlier studies at various universities as well as during his heedful readings in his grandfather s library had fallen in love with the Romantics He read Wordsworth and collected the image of the poet as a creature with a special sensitivity. From Shelley, he chose poetic sensibility. From Byron, the moral

anarchy following the path of his crooked foot Within the framework of his image as a Romantic poet, Tennessee Williams was often displaying a self conscious navet, a

kind of will of innocence that is caught in the maize of guilt and regret as in the poem I think the strange ,the crazed, the queer: I think the strange, the crazed, the queer Will have their holding this year, I think for just a little while there will be pity for wild . I think for some uncertain reason, mercy will be shown this season


Nancy M. Tischler Tennessee Williams : Rebellious Puritan New York, Citadel Press; 1st Edition edition, 1961


to lovely and misfit, to the brilliant and deformed The last line of the poem seams to be the most dramatic, reflecting the authors bitter self consideration and what he, and others alike could expect to experience from the reality that: the earth destroys her crooked child :

The poem is written by someone who was under stress and excessively anxious and overwhelmed by worries caused by a tumultuous life of lust, alcohol addiction and sexual d deviation. The crooked child that was to be destroyed by the earth and for whom the poet still hoped to get mercy was a strange, a crazed and a queer person. He was also wild and quite an opposite to the brilliant since he was a so called misfit That was probably the way the author characterized

himself and for such a one he hoped to get pity. He recognized that his major theme for all his work, poetry included was the destructive impact of society on sensitive, nonconformist individual that was a sinner too. He felt the permanent stigma (of a Byronic type ) that was perceived in almost all his poetry as a source of his individualism Besides that ,another theme is recurrent in his poetry only to show that his life was paradoxically both successful and miserably pessimist and that is: the theme of disappointed love Across the Space Between a bed and chair I watch you fade into the fading air. in poems as Across the Space


Intimate these moment dim and warm. My finger tip could touch your unsleeved arm

and so release the fire and brutal shock suspended in quiet air and tender watch

I say I could, and it may be I will, but have forborne and am forbearing still,

for there is something delicate and rare drawn tight across the space from bed to chair.

The poet was contemplating the lost love that had faded into the air although it remained present in his memory . Nevertheless he could have nearly touched his loves unsleeved arm and could once more have released the fire that was still suspended in the quiet air. For him love was something delicate and rare It is a poem of tender


love expressed in simple words that render the state of a lover disappointed after an ephemeral , quick passing love that disappeared across a short space between the bed and the chair The author started to get used to the situation forbearing the stream of his feeling although his delusion was strong because his love had been true and he had never spoken falsely in the intimate space between the bed and the chair .

It is delusion that this quiet could bloom something that's timeless in our little room, for tims not cheated by a moment's quiet; the heartbeats echo to eternal riot. The cock will crow his fading stars among; the lie is only waiting on the tongue! But while it waits, I speak not false to you; something unspoken in the room is true; something that's delicate


and dim and rare breathes in the space between a bed and chair. In the poem My Little One we read echoes of William Blakes Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience: My little one whose tongue is dumb, whose fingers cannot hold to things, who is so mercilessly young, he leaps upon the instant things I hold him not. Indeed who could ? He runs into the burning wood. Follow ,follow if you can! He will come out grown to a man And not remember whom he kissed, Who caught him by the slender wrist And bound him by a tender yoke Which understanding not he broke.

This poem is open to interpretation. It can be considered as a presentation of the poet as a child who is imagining about the type of adult the baby will turn into when he will enter running into the burning woods of tumultuous life. The present state of a grown man could have made him forget who kissed or caught him by the slender wrist. Any adult permanent bound/ relation was unfortunately considered as a


yoke and consequently broke, causing him unhappiness in life due to a possible misunderstanding

Other Possible Representations on Tennessee Williams Tennessee Williams a Modernist Poet It should surprise more than a few, though, that Williams adored Hart Crane(1899-1932) above all other poets, and wrote free verse in his early years that imitated his heros Modernist orotundities: But a listener hears, If he is expectant and still, The infinitesimal tick of filaments in light bulbs springing out of position, fifty-watt Mazdas giving up steady white ghosts. Industrial objects materialize in these early poems for no other reason than to supply the first term of a surprising metaphor. The adoration that Williams felt for Crane found its expression in his poem used as an epigraph to the poet collection, which calls Crane the greatest poet of all time, According to David Roessel and alia (2008)15 . their lives had many parallels: both men were homosexual alcoholics with violently intense natures that made them essentially Romantic figures. While Williams could not imitate Cranes verse with any fluency, he certainly imitated Cranes more destructive habits.


***David Roessel & Nicholas Moschovakis, editors The Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams. 2008, New York, New Directions


Stylistically, however, the pair could not have been more different. As a poetic influence, Crane was disastrous, while Williams wrote best when using the most traditional forms (like the couplett) on the most traditional subjects (such as thwarted love). While Cranes meters were traditional, his associative leaps and opaque imagery were concertedly experimental. Williamss real poetic kinsman was Robert Frostboth of these old-fashioned craftsmen were largely ignored during the age of High Modernism. Even if he declared he hardly understood a single line of Cranes poetry he considered him as his idol much cherished. It seems that the message of Cranes poetry comes from the total effect of the poem. Lowell considered Hart Crane the Shelley of his age and the most important poet of the generation of 1920s. Like most of his contemporaries and even a bit more, Tennessee Williams expressed his admiration more profoundly .He asked that after his death to be given back to the sea at the point most nearly determined as the point at which Hart Crane gave himself back to the sea when he committed suicide by jumping over the board of a ship. Fortunately this wish was not observed. Further more one of Williams last plays, a ghost play titled Steps must be gentle explored Cranes relation with his mother.

b) The Posthumous Poet The discovery, by mere chance, of an unknown manuscript of a poem by Tennessee Williams that once found proved to be of utmost interest inflamed the interest of Williams biographers and researchers . The 17 lines poem initially called Sad Song and then turned to Blue Song


was found by Schwey a PhD Professor and Chair of the Performance in Action Department in Arts and Science at Washington UniversityHe discovered it by chance at a New Orleans Bookstore Schwey was familiar with Williamss background and instantly recognized the blue textbook as the Greek Exam book of a type that is still in use. Inside there were Greek- English and English -Greek ones. On the cover, it was mentioned that it was sold by Washington University. All these convinced the scholar that it was Williams famous Greek book mentioned by the young writer who had problem at that time with Greek and was very concerned with the results of the exam that were one main reason why he has left the university soon after the poem that was found inside was written with a pencil in the time of the exam and the erased title Sad Story was replaced by Blue Story a change that could have reflected the authors state of mind in that day All these details and speculation were pro reasons for the theory of authenticity of the poem. Othersmore skeptics wandered why the name of the student was Thomas and not Williams? The adepts of the theory of authenticity remind the fact that at the time the future writer was not yet Tennessee but Thomas The authors of these lines propose another investigation method namely: b.1 The text analysis of the Blue Song16.


Mihaela Ionescu ; Anca Titi ; Dana Radu The Mystery of a Former Unknown Poem by Tennessee Williams , on CD.- SINUC \International Conference dec 2011,Buc, UTCB


I can tell you only my name and the name of the town I was born inbut that is enough. It does not matter whether tomorrow arrives anymore. If there is only this night and after it is morning it will not matter now. and of action. In the heart of me dust. Take it and blow it out upon the wind. Let the wind have it and it will find its way home. you will find a tiny handful of dust Take it and blow it out Upon the wind. Let the wind have It and it will find its way home The 17 lines of a poem that was put in the treasure box of the literary works of Tennessee Williams issued certain controversy concerning the real author of the lines Was it young Williams or someone else who took Cinderellas Sleepers to pretend? What does the text reveal? -The text revealed a poem in prose and that could have been Williamss because he was to become a play writer and a short story author


-The poem is written by someone who was under stress and was excessively anxious and overwhelmed by worries: - On the other hand the poet who certainly is depressed has read a lot of poetry He has read Wordsworth ,he has read Kipling or at least his If .He has read Shakespeares : sonnets because Tired with all these /For dreadful death I cry is in the background. All these proved that the poet is a young man who has studied a lot of poetry but who is in a critical moment of his life, possibly due to failure in life or at study. This poet could have been Tennessee Williams or any other sensible colleague who was into trouble and had to pass the Greek examination. If against all odds it was Williams it proves that anything connected to his work or only supposed to have belonged is still of interest

Conclusions Tennessee Williams best poetry concentrated into a series of short poems like: Across the Space My Little One or Heavenly Grass or The Wine Drinkers succeed to send messages in simple words, in the form of couplets or quatrains that displayed a musical delicacy that made them memorable. In his essay on Tennessee Williams the Playwright as a Poet,17 William Taylor (1977) observes that one reads Williams poems, the mind constantly flashed to characters, situations, themes and symbols in


William Taylor Tennessee Williams : the Playright as Poet in Tennessee Williams ;A Tribute ed Tharpe, Jackson University Publishing House


the plays and the fiction. The critic implies that there is a unity in Williams work. Plays of success, poetry imagined and put into print all life long, notable prose compile all a most valuable literary work That was and continues to be an attraction for the public and readers and why not .for researchers world wide The explanation comes from a question put in the Androgene mon Amour where the poet wonders: Can magic still, at times be the order of our existence?

Bibliography ***David Roessel & Nicholas Moschovakis, editors The Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams. 2008, New York, New Directions Fisher, Heinz-Dietrich et allia - The Pulitzer Prize Archive- A History of Awards Materials in: Journalism, Letters and Arts, Munchen K Sour G p 248. Ionescu, Mihaela; Anca Titi ; Dana Radu The Mystery of a Former Unknown Poem by Tennessee Williams , on CD.- SINUC 15-16 decembrie 2011 Foreign Languages Section, International Conference Tennessee Williams -1911-2011, Buc, UTCB, p 18-23 Leverich, Lyle -Tom the Unknown Tennessee Williams (1995) Northon aOtten Liam. - Previously Unknown Tennessee Williams poem found in the budding playwright's 1937 Greek exam (2005), Washington University in St Luis p 248 in Williams, Tennessee The Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams.edited by David Roesse;:Nicholas Moschovakis 2008 , New York, New Directions Taylor, William E. Tennessee Williams: the Playwright as Poet in Tennessee Williams: a Tribute, de. Jac Tharpe, Jackson Up of Missisisipi, 1977 Tischler, Nancy M. Tennessee Williams : Rebellious Puritan New York, Citadel Press; 1st Edition edition, 1961 Adler, Thomas P - Tennessee Williamss Poetry Intertext and Metatext in:


A PLAYWRIGHT WRITES PROSE TENNESSEE WILLIAMS MEMOIRS OF AN OLD CROCODILE Maria ALEXE, lecturer PhD Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest

Abstract When quite famous as a playwright, Thomas Lanier (Tennessee) Williams started to write his Memoirs, a very sincerely confession of his strange life. First published in 1975, the book was translated in Romanian only in 2010, although as a dramatist he was already well known, and largely translated. The whole title of his book Memoirs of an Old Crocodile, shows the author ironic vision upon himself as well as his talent as a prose writer. Starting with his happy childhood the book is not following a straight line, being at the same time postmodern and an example of the so called stream of consciousness, one story opening the gate for the next one. The analysis is not intending to recommend this book because it is a masterpiece, but because it shows a different Tennessee Williams and is a proof of how sincerity may impresses the readers of all times. The wonderful part concerning this controversial work is the fact that it presents the glamorous world of Hollywood and New York artistic life as well as the dark side of an artists life, his addiction to pills his phobias and alcoholism. The whole book is an expression of the freedom of speech turned into literature. Key words prose, sincerity, commitment, realism, autobiographical

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington-first American President Lead in Tennessee Williams way to glory was not an easy one, although he succeeded in becoming a successful writer, well known all over the


world. After staging several worldwide famous plays as The Glass Menagerie or A Street Car Named Desire, produced in the 50 and immediately turned into scripts for Hollywood films, his way of writing in a very sarcastic and bitter way started to be questioned by the critics. One by one they left him alone. It was in 1972, when he was asked to write his Memories, a strategy imagined by his editors to keep him into the public attention. It was not for the first time when he writes prose instead of drama. In 1948, Tennessee Williams travelled to Europe and coming back he published his first novel The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, (adapted into a film in 196118). Now we do not know exactly which were the public and the critics attitude concerning his prose in the 60. At the time he was mainly a writer of several successful dramas and movie scripts.

The 60 was a terrible time for Tennessee Williams. After his lover Frank Merlos death he felt into a deep depression and nobody was capable to comfort him. He was more and more under the drugs and alcohol influence, more and more hysterical and incapable of communication. Beside of Franks death his career as a playwright was failing and his new plays could not reach the popularity of his first plays and he started to run out of money. When the editors asked him to write his Memories he accepted, at the beginning, mainly for financial reasons. He confesses in the book


Recently the novel was adapted for stage and this new text is performed at Teatru Mic in season 2011-2012


that it was for the first time that he wrote for money. He states in Memoirs that the only thing he ever wrote for monetary reasons is the very memoir that he is in the process of writing. This was only his starting attitude, because during the writing process he was captivated by his own work and felt comfortable in this, in that shape of writing, a kind of self revelation19.

The strange and ironic subtitle was suggested by what his cardiologist from New Orleans. Once after a visit, the doctor said to Tennessee Williams to go home and live as a crocodile. At the beginning he ignored his advice because he thought that living as a crocodile meant to sink and to splash to mud, a way of life Williams hated. Then he understood that it meant living for what you really liked, immune to other aspects of live, quite a conservative way of living. It was the moment when he decided to consider himself an old crocodile.

19 Apud Ovidiu imonca- Observatorul cultural, 511/2010. feb. Homosexual, depresiv, neprefcut i scriitor


Tennessee Williams plays were translated and staged in Romania shortly after they arrived on Broadway. In the 60 and 70 the American writers plays were subject of great theatrical success due to very original way of interpreting. Head line roles in The Glass Menagerie, A Street Car Named Desire were interpreted by great Romanian actors. On the other hand the Memoirs translation had to wait. It was only in 2010, that Minerva Publishing House offered to its readers the translation of this book, due to Antoinette Radians translation. Almost thirty years passed, the general mentality has changed a lot, in USA as in Romania, social debates are much more open to all sort of subjects, but Tennessee Williams book is still shocking a large category of his readers. The critical judgments can be divided at least into two parts. Some like Ovid imonca in his chronicle published in the cultural magazine Observatorul literar is impressed by the Memoirs, when others as the literary critic Dan C. Mihilescu, or professor Bogdan Ulmu, from National University of Theatre and Cinema Art are disappointed lecturing the book. They consider that this volume does not fulfil their expectations and that from the literary value point of view the prose does not reach the level of his plays. They consider that the whole book is nothing else then a journal of his love affairs, described in an interesting way. Personally, I cannot agree with their opinion. The writer is always pointing the deep connections between his life and his work and those two aspects cannot be separated. When he speaks about his beloved sister Rose, often called Miss Rose, Tennessee Williams is underlining the similarities between her and some of the characters of his plays, mainly Blanche (A Streetcar Named Desire) one of the most outstanding


of his feminine characters. At the same time there are a lot of details about the way in which he selected the actors or the directors for his plays. It is quite obvious that for Tennessee Williams his whole life was cantered around his work. One of the most interesting aspects concerning the Memoirs is the way in which he describes the writing process of most of his work.

The writing process Tennessee Williams wrote his book during three years, from 1972 to 1975 and considered that as a good therapy for his soul. Finally published under the title Memoirs of an Old Crocodile the book was a great scandal and lot of readers were shocked by the stories written there. Reading the book now, one has to make an effort to imagine the social atmosphere, even in the artistic environment of the 70. The sexual revolution has just started and homosexuality was still a forbidden subject for public debates, a thing to be ashamed of. In front of an American society which still had quite a puritan way of thinking, Williams revealed his homosexuality, his problems with drugs and alcohol, hypochondria and described his life with a great, even cruel sincerity, but finally everything is connected to his writing. A nice young boy he once met at a party is turned into a character, he comes or goes to a performance, and he has to travel because he has to write. When he started to write his Memoirs, Tennessee Williams was 61, not a young artist anymore, but not really old, successful as plays and scripts writer, known worldwide, experiencing the success on Broadway, as well as at Hollywood. The fact that his creation is associated with great


stage directors as Elia Kazan or actors as Marlon Brando, as well as scripts for successful movies, contributed to turn him into a worldwide known writer. The decline of his glory as well as various conflicts he has with American mass-media are largely described and debated in his book. He notice the fact that Orpheus Descending (wrote in 1952, stage 1959. 60) was rejected by New-York public and media, but was appreciated in Russia where the play was performed successfully for 8 seasons. One of the most interesting facts that can be noticed by the reader of the year 2012 is that in the 70 Tennessee Williams uses quite a postmodern way of writing his Memories. The writer completely ignores the chronological development of the action, constructing and deconstructing different periods of his life. All kind of episodes of his young ages, evoking his happy childhood the early days as a professional writer (unsuccessful at the beginning) are interrupted by episodes relating meetings with famous writers as the Russian poet Evtuenco, glamorous Hollywood life, his meeting with students from Yale University, part of his life as a crocodile. At the same time his way of writing has certain resemblance with that call the stream of consciousness, proper to William Faulkner or Virginia Woolf.

Memoirs of an Old Crocodile, the ironic title which shows Williams opinion about himself, is a jagged read, moving from far past tense to present-tense within paragraphs at times, and you can feel his decline in capability. Many paragraphs end with ellipses, as though you can feel him trailing off, unsure what the point of writing the memoir is. All the time he seems to have a dialogue with his potential reader.


Despite those obviously influences of postmodernism Tennessee Williams was concern about the construction of his plays and wrote in the Memoirs: I realize how very old-fashioned I am as a dramatist to be so concerned with classic form but this does not embarrass me, since I feel that the absence of form is nearly always, if not always, as dissatisfying to an audience as it is to me. He is sometimes definitely in favour of classical unity I persist in considering Cat my best work of the long plays because of its classic unities of time and placer and the kingly magnitude of Big Daddy. There are in Memoirs passages in which Tennessee Williams is imagining a dialogue with his readers. As many postmodern writers do now, he continues by imagining certain answers. Then he talks to himself as the most important witness of his activity, approving or disapproving his words or his attitude. The author always took care of his characters and he always selected himself the actors for his plays. In Memoirs he underlines that he never agree to give a part to an actor/actress he considered to be inappropriate and this was a way of protecting his work. The readers are invited to approve his attitude. Somewhere in the Memoirs he writes about the way in which Marlon Brando received the main role in A Streetcar Named Desire. Reading Tennessee Williams book the reader faces imagines of important modern writers (they are literary characters) such as Ernest Hemingway, Jean Paul Sartre, or fancy meetings at White House with President John Kennedy and the French writer Andre Malraux. Then all of a sudden he writes about the period when he was just a simple bell boy


in Manhattan, or a waiter in a picturesque restaurant in an obscure New Yorker neighborhood. He starts speaking about things that happened yesterday and then all of a sudden turns back to the 30, the time when he was a student or a young anonymous author. He talks about his success with The Glass Menagerie and on the same page he refers to the way in which The Night of the Iguana; a dark and bitter play was rejected by public and critics. Even if it is not obvious from the very beginning, reading the Memoirs one may discover the dramatist creative mechanism. There are in Memoirs pages were he remembers the days of Sweet Bird of Youth (1959) first rehearsals, his nervous attitude, his fear that it should turn into a failure. He is ready to give up the rehearsals and the text itself. No matter what his feelings or condition was the audition for a play was a major event. For the first performance of Sweet Birds of Youth the director was Elia Kazan and the main actors Paul Newman and Geraldine Page, nevertheless Tennessee Williams was quite anxious about the way the play would be accepted by the public. With the same directness, compassion, and insight that epitomize his plays and his own life the writer speaks about his amazing friends from the worlds of stage, screen, and literature. Sometimes he writes in a melancholically way, other time quite ironic. He always expresses his filings for people like : Laurette Taylor, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Elia Kazan, Marlon Brando, Vivian Leigh, Carson McCullers, Anna Magnani, Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, and Tallulah Bankhead to name a few. About Lorette Taylor, the wonderful actress who played in his first great success The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams wrote:


I also wrote that there are sometimes hints, during our lives, of something that lies outside the flesh and its mortality. I suppose these intuitions come to many people in their religious vocations, but I have sensed them equally clearly in the work of artists and most clearly of all in the art of Laurette. There was radiance about her art, which I can compare only to the greatest lines of poetry, and which gave me the same shock of revelation as if the air about us had been momentarily broken through by light from some clear space beyond us.

The book is more about the man and his deep feelings than about his career as may be some of his readers expected. He readily concedes that he is not about to bore himself and others to death with chronological descriptions about the fruition of each play and the way in which it was staged. As he says here: "The plays, what about them? If this was a book only about my plays, it would be a very short book. The plays speak for themselves". In fact, there is nothing chronological about this book The reader does not learn spectacular things about Tennessee Williams in his Memoirs but he is impressed by his complete sincerity in analyzing his feelings and his relationship with the others. A kind of nostalgia, concerning certain moments of his life, such as his happy childhood or the days he spent with his friend in bungalow on the sea shore, can be noticed. The book helps one better understand how autobiographical many of his works are. From his upbringing by a tyrannical, indifferent and alcoholic father, who was disappointed in his "sissy" son, his overbearing mother, and his relationship with his lifelong, deepest love, his sister Rose and his beloved grandfather, they are all


there in Williams plays. Tennessee Williams had many lovers, but his he was deeply attached to Frank Merlo. When Frank died he was disoriented and he described his relationship like that:As long as Frank was well, I was happy. He had a gift for creating a life and, when he ceased to be alive, I couldnt create a life for myself. After his death he found it difficult to write but writing was the best therapy. That is why he wrote in his Memoirs Work!! the loveliest of all four-letter words, surpassing even the importance of love, most times. Very interesting are the pages where the author recalls the days when he had started to write. In his childhood he was very ill, than in a magical way he recovered. After that miraculous recovering he never was the same. Before he was a very active child, suddenly after the illness he turned into a lonely child. He thinks that his mother encouraged him to stay inside and to play alone. Probably due to his isolation his imagination developed and when he was 12 had started to write. Since then writing was always his major concern and a kind of comfort. The key word for the way in which Tennessee Williams writes about his life is sincerity. He does not try to impress his reader or to ask for his compassion he just tries to present things as they are.

Tennessee Williams his characters and his friends Memoirs of an Old Crocodile is not a journal is not a collection of stories about a writer who became famous, is much more then that is a book about the author and his family and friends. The remarkable facts concerning the history of literature are there because Tennessee Williams and his friends took part to them. Some of the described facts were


considered quite scandalous at the time and that is why sometimes the writer changes the name. Sometimes he considers that it is important for his readers to be witness of real facts. An example is his first meeting with Hemingway and Fidel Casto, the Dictator of Cuba.

The meeting took place at Floridity, the place where Hemingway used to spend his time when he was not on see, and it was a pleasant surprise. He was expecting a kind of macho man and instead he discovered a charming fellow, friendly, even a little bit shy. They started talking about the corridas, one of Hemingways hobbies. Tennessee Williams was not very keen on that sort of fights, but he knew Antonio Ordonez, one of Ernest Hemingways idols. The conversation goes on and Williams asked Hemingway to facilitate him a meeting with Fidel Castro. There are some lines, written in a very drama style which brings in front of the reader two titans of American literature. Even in 1975, when the book was first published to be a gay was not an easy attitude to assume. After the sexual revolution of the 60 it was okay to speak about love life in general abut not about love between two men. For Ernest Hemingway, for example it was okay to describe his love life because he was straight, but for a gay man it was (and still largely is) expected to be kept discreetly in shadow zone of his life. But Tennessee was not ashamed of his nature and not ashamed of his life and his relationships, in that way this memoir (and his life itself) is an act of cultural defiance Some of his feminine characters are artistic projections of his beloved sister Rose, a strange person, suffering of mental disease.


Her illness started in their childhood and the poor girl could never have a normal life, for long periods of time she lived in different institution. Remembering the nice days of their childhood, Williams describes in details a scene which was very impressive for him and is very touching for his readers and of great significance in analyzing the relationship with his sister Then there was the wild weekend Mother and Dad had gone to the Ozarks, I believe, and Rose and I were alone in the house on Pershing. That weekend I entertained my new group of young friends. One of them got very drunk maybe all of them did but this particular one got drunker than all of us put together and he went up on the landing, where the phone was, and began to make obscene phone calls to strangers. When our parents returned from the Ozarks, Miss Rose told them of the wild party and the obscene phone calls and the drinking. I was informed by Miss Edwina [Williams mother] that no one of this group should ever again enter the house After she had tattled on my wild party I went down the stairs as Rose was coming up them. We passed each other on the landing and I turned upon her like a wildcat and I hissed at her: I hate the sight of your ugly old face! Wordless, stricken, and crouching, she stood there motionless in a corner of the landing as I rushed on out of the house. This is the cruelest thing I have done in my life His first meeting with one of his favourite actors, Marlon Brando is described in a beautiful way and is a representative scene which shows Williams attitude concerning his friends. In was summer and he and his


friends had gone at Cap Code where he wanted to finish his play A Streetcar Named Desire. It was in that bungalow in Cape Cod that Blanches last line was written. The play was ready and as usual he was afraid of the public reaction. Having one of his anxiety crises was absolutely sure that the performance would be a failure. One day Elia Kazan sent him a young actor named Marlon Brando. When Brando arrived he started to fix all sort of things in the bungalow and around it and then he played for the audition. It was an informal audition yet very convincing and after many years Tennessee Williams was still convince that Stanley Kowalski was the most important role played by Brando on stage. Most of his roles were done for the cinema and the writer considers that Brando could be a very good actor in theatre.

A Chance The Cinema When Tennessee Williams became a famous writer, both Broadway and Hollywood were at their climax. To be staged in one of those places was a supreme glory. He had the great chance to see his plays not only on Broadway, the most famous stage in America, but also at Hollywood. He wrote screenplays for The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Names Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly, Last Summer, The Rose Tattoo. The cinema gave him fame and celebrity all over the world. Of course, the productions of his most successful plays round the world since the first productions helped give Williams some financial stability that he really needed. But financial stability isnt everything for; he the cinema meant a rewarding experience and the opportunity to meet wonderful people. He writes about miraculous


meeting with Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy who was a remarkable Blanche DuBois, in A Streetcar Named Desire with Anna Magnani, with Elia Kazan, his favourite director. He evokes the wonderful friendship and commitment for all those stars. Williams recalls with a sort of nostalgia the glamorous period of Hollywood and all those stars come to life due to his funny little stories. At the same time he makes some comments about the changes in the way of acting, comparing the tendencies of the 50 (when most of the films with his screenplays were made to those of the 70. He is definitely in favour of a natural way of acting and considers that cinema itself has manage to find it own language, way of representation, different to the theatre. As he said he always has loved the cinema, may be not as much as the theatre, but he liked even more the cinema of the 70.

In the book he remembers scenes during the time they were working together, meetings with famous actors, his disputes with Elia Kazan. The writer was willing to compromise up to a certain point, but then there was a point where he wanted to have the last word, because as he underlined wrote the damn thing. An example is given by retelling the dispute about the revisions to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, it turned into a titanic fight between Kazan and Williams. It seemed that Kazan was winning the battle (the production went with Kazans version) but Williams winning the war (the published version having both Kazans and Williams versions, with a long explanatory essay from Williams about how he still preferred his own version). Sometimes he wanted to


give up the whole production, and the studios were forced to negotiate with him.

Conclusion In the end of his Memoirs the writers own conclusion is that his life deserves a book, even if it was so much influence by madness, alcohol and psychotic accesses, because it was his writing which always helped him and finally saved him. He was lucky to have good friend and good models, among whom Cehov has to be mention in the first place, because he was his mentor and then Ibsen whose plays made him to write drama. Tennessee Williams comes in front of his readers and describes what he likes and what he hates without any fear of being ridiculous or misunderstood. Many beautiful words were written about Rome, his favourite town and a lot of arguments were given against towns he hated. The inherent drama, passion and thirst for life itself jump out of the page and carry one through to the end and the potential reader can't help, but be touched by his humanity and his passion and his drive to express himself through his art. Reading his Memoirs one may feel that Williams (as always) has had the last say. His Memoirs are (like so much of his work) ahead of their time so ahead of their time that they were not completely understood when first performed or read, ultimately they seem timeless. His whole work and the analyzed book as well is a mindboggling body of work, when looked at it as a whole. It continues to grow in stature, and now it is going to be reconsidered. As one of Tennessee Williams prose reviewer I strongly believe we may assume that Williams, finally get rid of his anxiety and will have


the last laugh. He is a nonconformist writer virtually wandering in postmodern society. He was a visionary able to see the face of American in the third millennium and that is why people still goes to his movies and watches his plays. After reading the book the best thing to say was written by John Waters in the Introduction of the 2006 edition of the Memoirs. I never met Tennessee Williams[...] But reading his Memoirs its like having a few stiff drinks with Tennessee on one of his good nights as he tells you juicy stories that were once out of record.

References Alexe, Maria Faa mai puin cunoscut a unui dramaturg Tennessee Williams Memorii, CD Lucrrile prezentate n sesiunea omagial din cadrul Sinuc 2011, Bucureti, 15-16 decembrie, p 7-11 Jackson, M. Eather Tennessee Williams in vol The American Theatre Today, Basic Books, Inc. Publishers, New-York, London, 1977 Mihilescu, Dan, C care aduce cartea, luni, 29 iunie, 2011 Ralian, Antoaneta Tennessee Williams. Memorii Romnia literar, nr.45, 2008 imonca, Ovidiu Homosexual, depresiv, neprefcut i scriitor, Observatorul cultural, 511, feb.2010 Williams, Tennessee, Memoirs of an Old Crocodile with an Introduction by john Waters, edited by New Directions Book, New York, 2006 Williams, Tennessee, Memorii ale unui btrn crocodil, Editura Minerva, Bucureti, 2009


TENNESSEE WILLIAMS - BETWEEN REAL AND FANTASY Loredana MICLEA, lecturer PhD Cristina HERLING, assistant PhD candidate Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest

Abstract We have chosen this play by Tennessee Williams Suddenly Last Summer for the present study as we have intended to approach this dramatic text with the purpose of observing, discovering, researching and presenting the Dionysian elements used by the author and extracted from the primordial inter text, The Bacchae by Euripides; the analysis of the work, seen from the point of view of this finding, proposes/sets out the way through which the particular cosmo-vision of the American playwright gives a new semantics to these Dionysian elements, turning this new creation into a tribute to one of the most important Greek tragedians. Keywords: Dionysian, intertextuality, creator, cosmovision, grotesque, existential

A Creative Background - Reality and Fantasy Well known for his unusual way of writing and his original characters, Tennessee Williams imagined a world which resembled to reality but which was at the same time a result of his fantastic imagination. There are two categories of imagination following two vital streams one connected to reality the other one to fantasy. According to Joseph Joubert they are animal faculty and intellectual faculty; the first one is passive when the second one is active, creative. Imagination has to be a kind of memory and that memory is as an


unlimited warehouse used by imagination to create or as a painter who paints on other people soul marvelous images. Imagination should be for an artist supreme goddess, living everywhere and in everything, ruling all sensations and knowing that the most important myth of all is the myth of sincerity and spontaneity because nobody can write about unknown and unseen things. Having this statement as a starting point progress itself is a questionable aspect and so is concepts as renaissance and decadence because in imagination there is no ascendance, nor descends, contrasts live together everything mirrors in everything . The antithesis, the contrast, the mirror and the way in which grotesque and ugliness are interpreted leads to a metaphorical way of speaking and to viewing reality.

Suddenly Last Summer Greek Tragedy in Modern Shape Tennessee Williams is a playwright whose imagination, fantasy and at the same time great sense of reality have made him one of the most well-known and loved American authors. In Suddenly Last Summer the accent is set on spontaneity and inspiration. Grotesque is interpreted as an opponent to sublime, a special kind of grotesque re-interpreted in different ways and images. This among all of his plays was chosen for this study because the main research question concerns the connection between his play and the ancient The Bacchae by Euripides, the intertextuality of those texts and the role of the Dionysian elements. The analysis done according to this particular vision suggest a new lecture which underlines the writers clear vision, actually a cosmovision,


reinterpreting the Dionysian elements and turning this dramatic work into a homage to one of the greatest ancient Greek playwrights Long centuries ago, ancient Greek tragedy has become an intertextual source for a large number of writers and so they were able to get familiar with the vision and philosophy of some of the greatest authors of the world. Not only the ancient drama was considered to be a source of inspiration but also the the way in which those authors interpreted the main philosophical concepts and the their mythological vision upon life, the myth which had shaped the poems of Golden Century of ancient Greece. In modern texts all those elements were reinterpreted, re modeled and adapted to modern society. Separate elements, having all the same source ancient Greek civilization stepped into light to describe contemporary feelings and facts, the anxiety of modern people. One of the modern masterpieces which were written by re-evaluating ancient symbols and myth is Suddenly Last Summer, Tennessee Williams play. Staged for the first time in 1958 it is a proof of the authors keen sense of observation and acid vision upon American society. The play shows a clear intertextuality with Euripides last play (The Bacchac), from the very beginning in the long presentation which opens the first of the four sequences the stage design is unreal, a location in the Gothic-Victorian style of New Orleans gardens, in last summer, beginning of autumn afternoon. The location is surrounded by a miraculous garden resembling to a rain forest suggesting fantastic scenery where animals were able to fly and people turned in to mythical animals


The colors used to depict this rain forest which looks like a garden are dark and sad creating a horror atmosphere but they clearly suggest the hit which comes from Earth after a rain. The fragments of flowers suggest parts of human body, even human organs, pieces with fresh blood. It is a sequence which evokes Friedrich Nietzsches work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and its conception about concerning the human body and its relation with the soul. According to Nietzsches perception self predicts itself as dislocated floating and the image of the chopped body belong to man himself but at the same time to the Creator. After all this is an alchemic sign putrefaction. The description are built on long descriptive passages, cut images, suggesting parts of human body, because the self is ignored and the real human soul would be revealed after complete putrefaction. Dionysus the god is tortured by mysteries and suffers because he wants to be an individual person, he is the god about who the old myth are telling the mythical procession when he was cut into pieces by the titans. The legend presents this comminution (real Dionysus sufferings) which may be considered as a real transformation in air, water, earth fire, meaning that it should be considered as primordial base for all human sufferings. It is from this smile of Dionysus that the Greek gods living in their mountain Olympus were born and his tears were the source of human existence. It may be said that Dionysus as a god has a double existence and a double nature there is cruel and savage demon and kind and gentle king. He can be a maze or monstrous with multiple personalities, endless number of personalities but always hunted by the ghost of his chopped body.


Under the sign of Dionysus symbols, man turns into a piece of art due to the complexity of his feelings and provocation and is marked on all the plans of his existence. It is the moment when the self is absorbed by his own forgiveness or he would be killed by his destiny. The above mention sequence make me think about the regenerative symbol red pure blood, magic liqueur always saving us. The blood colour means red- is the symbolic color of sun and philosophical gold, of fire as primordial element, of royal purple and the third phase of a work when everything is turned into a red dust. There is a sequence in Tennessee Williams play that should be analyzed according to those symbolic values. One may notice screaming, whistling, a shrill sound as well as all sort of noises, steps as if a forest full of snakes, beasts birds and fantastic animals were on the stage. Actually it is only the sitting room of an old venerable lady Mrs Venable which opens into the garden, an open gate to a strange universe. It is a universe suggesting in a surrealist way a living hell a kind of grotesque South Gothic Tennessee Williams re creates the period when Dionysus, the ancient god of wine and mystic visions was alive. Culture and nature are opposite elements in space where there are no boundaries and which marks a path leading Sebastian Venable to his destruction.

Another proof that the author is imposing his personal interpretation based on a myth on an artistic creation is the symbolism of the tropical flowers. Wrapped in a macabre atmosphere Suddenly Last Summer reveals a story of a family from the south, an aristocratic person


and her son who had recently died at the age of 4. The story is told by Sebastian cousin who proclaim herself as a great defender of the truth. The play has four sequences, the first and the last being interrupted monologues with Mrs Violet Venable and Mrs Catherine in foreground. The second and the third sequence Characters Concert of seven characters which take part into the action is sustained by a rich orchestra and large number of different unpleasant sounds. It is a jungle fixed and clean set in a stylish disorder of exotic plants (identify by their latin names) plants who are feed by flies specially brought from Florida. In fact the jungle mirrors to the last details the life and personality of the dead Sebastian, who had passed away but who is still there for his mother. He was a poet who used to write a poem each year after coming back from his exotic journeys, different places he used to visit with his mother. This work lasted for 25 years and in the end was gathered in golden volume.

Tennessee Williams Characters A Human Jungle All the details about his life can be reconstructed due to the conversation of his mother Mrs. Venable with doctor Cukrowicz (or dr. Sugar, as she translated his Polish name), a young psychiatrist in a hospital which Violet mentions with a false humanitarian intention suggesting that she is going to establish a foundation to honor the dead poet, her son. Actually she wants to send there her niece Catherine for a lobotomy, so that she would not be able to tell what she knows about her son Sebastian. The girl accompanied him in his last journey, in the


summer when his mother was unable to go because she was ill (hospitalize in a mental institution).

After Sebastians death, his cousin is accused that she tried to destroy the deep mother/son relationship and finally to destroy his memory. In her conversation with the doctor, Mrs. is obsessed by the fact that her son had a deep connection with God and that he has gone to find God. She seems to be convinced that all the journeys were done so that a miracle should take place. The poet death is suggested in a symbolic way by a description of an attack made by birds against baby turtles. Another interesting episode is Sebastians attempt to pass to the Buddhist religion. The mother son relationship is a sick one and this aspect is suggested by their refuse to get old (the syndrome of Peter Pan, as it is called today) For that they elaborate a program based on discipline and abstinence and each day would be designed as if it was an work of art. In her dialogue with dr. Sugar, mother is proud of her son chastity, But this is a perverse way to hide his real sexual orientation the terrible secret discovered by Catherine.


One of the most remarkable example was Tennessee Williams jungle is Catherine Holly (a symbolic and suggestive family name meaning sacred), lovely prisoner of her own madness. She is in fact a normal person as normal as Tennessee Williams wonderful characters can be. Despite her present situation she is an honest girl, intelligent not very sexy but not frustrated, loving the supreme and absolute truth. She is different compared to all those people suffering of mental disease. Catherine does not hate her aunt despite her hostile attitude because according to her principle hate means madness

Sebastian is a complex character built with precision and craft. He is sensitive, mean, capricious, demanding accepting and rejecting friendship and other people companion, curious wearing different masks (Penteleus curiosity), his sexual orientation is the key for a whole sequence. That scene reveals Sebastians preferences for his exotic journeys. He likes to go to Africa or Asia because he likes to have lovers colour people. He is hunted by the obsession of a religious punishment given by God. This is a terrible character very severe and he would punish him no matter if he gave up her scandalous behaviour. He used to


live with the obsession of divine punishment; nevertheless he was not able to stop and treated his partners as objects or exotic courses. Only his gentle cousin Catherine was able to save him from himself because they used to have a secret communication, a certain complicity quite mean yet reversible. She understood him but she could offer him only a maternal love> during that journey in the last summer Sebastian gets free of his mother tyrannical domination. He looks at Catherin as if she was a mirror and saw himself as he really looks like. But there is a certain Puritanism that he cannot pass over and this is like armour for him. The moment of his death, when he finally accepted the way in which he was is a very emotional one. Sebastian dies surrounded by a lot of homeless persons who after killing him are chopping his body and it it. The horible scene is described by Catherine. The description itself is done according to the three main points of Dyonisus cermony. Incapable to adapt himself to society, Sebastian is killed in ritual way.

Conclusions It is obvious that the topic of exploitation is one of Williams obsessions which may be observed in most of his literary works. What is really remarkable in Suddenly Last Summer is the way in which he reveals how and when his hero changes. The transformation is due to different factors all depicted by the playwright. Sebastian is agonizing from the very beginning aware of his tragic destiny overloaded by his guilt which marks all his attitudes and feelings. His suffers and when he assumes his guilt this lead to madness. The conflict is an inner one.


This journey during the last summer , is a journey to freedom. Sebastian started to show his real self without any inhibition but his refuse to adapt himself to social rules will kill him. Catherine is capable to accept the truth and the fact that she could be blamed for his death and like other characters of Williams play is blind in front of reality This study finally proofs that there is a deep connection between the way in which the main character of Tennessee Williams play is designed and old myths of Dionysus. Being a character which is at the same time a victim and a symbol Sebastian is the embodiment of eternal human being.

Bibliography Collard , Franck Otrviri celebre , Editura Artemis , Bucureti , 2005 . Leadbleater , Charles W. Francmasoneria , Editura Herald , Bucureti , 2004 Leavitt , Richard Fr. The World of Tennessee Williams , New York , 1978 Nietzsche, Friedrich Aa grit-a Zarathustra, Editura Meridian, Bucureti , 1996 . Segal , Charles Dionysiac Poetics and Euripides Bacchae , Princeton , New Jersey , 1997 . Williams , Tennessee The Theatre of Tennessee Williams , 3 vols. , Cat on a hot tin Roof , Orpheus Descending , and Suddenly Last Summer , New York , 2002 .



Abstract The centenary of Tennessee Williams (1911-2011) has provoked a renewed interest in his works and a re-evaluation of his influence in theatre and film-making all over the world. The investigation will explore the changing critical discourses surrounding his productions to trace how the historical and social contexts of the receiving culture have determined (and even pre-determined) the reception and interpretation of his plays. In Bulgaria he started to be known as late as 1961 he has become quite popular. Key words: theatre, reception, Bulgarian stage, drama

The centenary of Tennessee Williams (1911-2011) has provoked a renewed interest in his works and a re-evaluation of his influence in theatre and film-making all over the world. In what follows I want to delineate the major patterns in the politics of his reception in Bulgaria


between the mid-20th century and the turn of the 21st century a period of radical political and social changes. More precisely, the investigation will explore the changing critical discourses surrounding his productions to trace how the historical and social contexts of the receiving culture have determined (and even pre-determined) the reception and interpretation of his plays. Although Williams journey to the Bulgarian audience was somewhat delayed (starting as late as 1961), winding, and uneven, it can be argued that the American dramatist has been widely popular among theatre-makers and viewers: more than seventeen Williams plays have been staged by various theatre companies in the country; some of them have enjoyed multiple productions and revivals over the years. Among the many factors influencing the reception of Tennessee Williams such as national theatrical tradition, social and cultural context, acting methods and others, the current exploration will focus primarily on the role of the ideological state apparatus under communism and the role of the market during the post-communist transition in shaping preperformance audience expectations and post-performance interpretations through critics and reviewers discourses. The two drastically different political and economic regimes have adopted different strategies in appropriating and domesticating Williams for their purposes: during the peak of the Cold war communist propaganda relied on ideological coercion and distortion, replaced by subtler forms of subversion and camouflage in the mid-1980s years of glasnost and perestroika, whereas the market system in the post-communist period has adopted more seductive strategies in order to secure commercial success of his plays.


In order to trace changing paradigms in the appropriation of Tennessee Williams on the Bulgarian stage, I will draw upon archival material of over 80 reviews and articles in the Bulgarian press between the 1960s and 2010, opting for a chronological production-based rather than text-based approach. Due to the ephemerality of performance and the complications in documenting audience reception, theatre critics and reviewers provide extremely valuable evidence about the context of a specific theatrical event, the overall zeitgeist of the period it was produced in, as well as various receptive operations such as interpretation, aesthetic appreciation, emotive, and intellectual responses. For the analysis of theatre discourses and how they have influenced the production of meaning, the functioning of cultural, ideological and national codes as well as the very change in these codes, norms and prescriptions at certain moments, I will employ concepts and ideas from drama reception theory and cultural studies. Theatre as social practice is always embedded in structures of power and knowledge, often imposing particular values and norms or masking inequalities as discussed by theatre semioticians such as Susan Bennett, Patrice Pavis, Marco de Marinis, Fernando de Toro and others. There have been various ways of visualizing intercultural transfer in the theatre. In his book Theatre at the Crossroads of Cultures Pavis explains the process via the model of the hourglass figure seen simultaneously as a funnel and a mill through which the foreign (source) culture from the upper bowl flows into the lower bowl of the receiving (target) culture, being regulated by their passage through some dozens filters put in place by the target culture and the observer (1992:4). His model of the filtering system is very appropriate for the study of Williams as


ideological filters and reception adaptors have played a huge role in conditioning his appropriation in Bulgarian culture. Susan Bennetts theory of drama production and reception as developed in her book Theatre Audiences: A Theory of Production and Reception provides a more general framework for theatre analysis as she approaches the study of theatre reception as a more general cultural phenomenon (1990:1). Her model relies on the intersection of two frames: the outer frame is concerned with theatre as a cultural construct through the idea of the theatrical event, which involves the totality of the unfolding production, the selection of material for production and the audiences expectations of a performance (1990:2), whereas the inner frame contains the theatrical event itself and the spectators experience of a fictional world, involving production strategies, ideological

overcoding and the material conditions of a performance (1990:2). Bennett insists on the interaction between the two frames because cultural assumptions affect performances, and performances rewrite cultural assumptions (1990:2). Theatre-makers and critics play a major role in this interactive critical space as they influence decisions which dramatic texts should be selected for production, what interpretive options should be privileged for political or other reasons thus shaping viewers pre-performance horizons of expectations as well as their postperformance interpretations. Drawing upon reception theory, semiotic theory and historiography, the current exploration combines historical and production analysis in order to discuss how the American playwright has been re-created, re-configured or dis-figured within the receiving


Bulgarian culture, what purposes his art has been appropriated for, and to what effect.

Strategies of ideological coercion and subversion The first Williams play to be staged in Bulgaria was Orpheus Descending, produced in 1961 by 3 companies in the country (Trudov Front Theatre in Sofia, Bourgas Theatre, and Pleven Theatre). One would assume that this particular play was chosen to introduce Williams to the Bulgarian spectators because it embodies in a nutshell his penchant for the tragic and the painful, his obsession with loss and doom typical features of the literature of the American South which had already been warmly received by the Bulgarian readers. The decision, however, was politically motivated: during the same year Orpheus Descending had its Soviet premiere at the Moscow Theatre, launching Williamss troubled journey to the Russian audience.20


On the 1961 Russian premiere of Orpheus Descending and its new version, staged in 2011 in honor of the 100-year- anniversary, see Olga Bugrovas article Tennessee Williams a la Russe in Moscow Time, March 26, 2011.


What is more, the Bulgarian text of the play was not translated from English, but was safely re-translated from the Russian version, published in Innostrannaya literature in 1960. The 1960s witnessed the Bulgarian productions of two other prominent Williams plays: The Glass Menagerie (1968, Youth Theatre, Sofia) and Streetcar Named Desire (1968, The Army Theatre, Sofia), followed by many productions outside the capital city. These early productions were meant to familiarize the Bulgarian audience with the art of the American playwright, but the discourses that framed their reception centered primarily on criticizing the decadence of capitalism, the moral and spiritual degradation of American society, the tragic isolation of the individual, religious bigotry i.e. approaching Williams in strictly Marxist-Leninist class terms. For example, discussing the Bourgas Theatre production of Orpheus Descending, Vladimir Polyanov attacks the director for having taken too many liberties such as rearranging scenes, making changes in the very prologue, cutting the lynching scene, erasing Carols emblematic words in the end (Wild things leave skins behind them), doing away with the figure of the Negro, omitting the scene where the sheriff reappears at the end of the play, introducing non-existent love-scenes, and other major deviations and distortions all resulting in the impoverishment of the text. The greatest sin, however, in the critics opinion, is that through these interventions the director has toned down the social pathos of the original: thus, for example, by eliminating the character of Uncle Pleasant whose image represents the miserable existence of black people


in the South, he has redeemed the fanatic, predatory and philistine nature of the American society (1961:38).21 In a similar manner another review of The Glass Menagerie production by Sofia Youth Theatre in 1969 emphasizes Williamss recurrent social-psychological motifs such as alienation, the total disintegration of the bourgeois family, the old-fashioned romantic belief in some abstract love among people, praising the power of the American dramatist to depict the misery of small people and pass a severe judgment over inhumane American society (1969: 93).22 Indeed, The Glass Menagerie does provide a powerful critique of the United States during the Great Depression, but the critics interpretation only in class terms - at the expense of the plays lyricism and psychological depth is rather limited and politically biased. Such narrow interpretations of Williamss drama circulated in the Bulgarian press well before 1961 as part of the overall critique of American drama in the Bulgarian press, centering on the crisis or problems of American drama (its celebrity system or its failure to present social issues realistically), while simultaneously praising other socially oriented American playwrights such as Clifford Odets, Arthur Miller, and Lillian Hellman, who had already made it on the Bulgarian stage, and had been accorded the status of heroes.23 Most theatre

Vladimir Polyanov, Orfei v Ada, Theatre Journal, 1961, 10: 36-42. Vladimir Karakashev, Stuklenata Menazeniya v Narodniya Teatr za Mladezhta, Plamuk, 1969, 5: 93-94. 23 See the following articles with suggestive titles: Todor Kirov Some Features of American Drama, Narodna Kultura, 1957, 21: 3-8; V. Karakashev Contemporary Drama. Problems of American Dramaturgy, Teatr, 1957, 2:46-50; Atanas Natev, The American



reviews, program notes, directors comments from the 1960s reveal a similar attitude of rejection of capitalist values and lifestyle. This policy is not surprising as journalists, critics and the media were part of the ideological apparatus of the totalitarian regime; what is surprising, however, is that Williamss drama was used by communist propaganda as an instrument for legitimizing totalitarian ideology. Under communism all theatres were subsidized by the state; there were strict rules and state committees to determine what plays could be translated plays were usually chosen for their social material and how it could be used it to produce social engagement. There existed restrictions on what to be staged and how to be staged the institutionalized theatre system allowed each company to include in its repertoire only a limited number of Western plays (up to 5%), usually social-protest drama. And finally, the screening of productions and texts was carried out through critics and media discourses functioning as powerful adaptors in filtering the theatrical transfer in Pavis terms or as part of the outer frame in Susan Bennetts terms. The most popular Williams play during the 1960s was A Streetcar Named Desire,24 staged for the first time by the Sofia Army Theatre in 1968 (directed by Elka Mihaylova, with an excellent cast); it was immediately taken on and produced by several theatre companies in the country.

Dream, Teatr, 1965, 56: 15-21; Todor Kirov, The Drift of Talent, Annuaire de LUniversite de Sofia, 1966, XL:460-510; G. Zlobin, The American Anti-theatre, Teatr, 1969, 3:48-52. 24 In fact, as Felicia Londre argues, this was Williams most performed play in the US: it ran for 855 performances and became the first play to win all the major awards(1999: 45).


Again, the theatrical discourses surrounding the play are politically charged: for example, one reviewer commenting on Stanley Kowalskis Polish descent, makes the remark: Slavs are at the bottom of American society, next to black people and Italians25 obviously underlining the intersection of class and ethnic conflicts in American society, and making a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Bulgarian spectators in the audience as Slavs. Another reviewer attacks American value system and lifestyle more indirectly by writing the following: Stanley has burned spiritually in the American desert, becoming a machine for playing cards and skittles, as well as whisky and beer drinking.26 In these interpretations the rich texture of A Streetcar Named Desire is reduced to few thematic layers translated into the language of ideologemes and class struggle thus domesticating it for the prevailing expectations of the working-class heroes in the audience and the dominant communist ideology. Yet, the growing popularity of Williamss drama among Bulgarian theatre-makers and viewers reveals a strange paradox: their ideological bias and assumptions often came into play as they either uncovered or

25 26

S. Tincheva, Tramvai Zhelanie, Edna Sedmitsa v Sofia Magazine, 1968, 52:8. Diana Balkanska, Tramvai Zhelanie, Srednoshkolkso zname, 1969, 19:11.


ignored the messages of the ideological apparatus or started reading them against the norm what Umberto Eco describes as reading in the light of aberrant codes (i.e. codes that are different from the ones envisaged by the sender). In a false totalitarian environment censorship gradually produced the opposite effect: what had been cut or suppressed by the censor as unhealthy (everything that had to do with sex, non-social violence, existential problems, and consumerism) became even more appealing on the principle that what was forbidden is most cherished. Although critics spoke of the helplessness and despair of Williamss characters, the Bulgarian viewers saw in them an unknown sense of freedom - freedom from norms, institutions, from emotional control, the simple feeling that you can do with your life as you wish. The more critics denounced American popular culture and entertainment as featuring in Williamss art, the more spectators appreciated the representations of sex, scandal, shock, as well as jeans culture, movies, Coca Cola, pop music and other pop culture consumer products (missing or suppressed in a culture of deficit). Apart from breaking representational taboos and artistic protocols, these early productions broke down the distinction between highbrow and lowbrow, between elite and popular. Thus the very instrument of communist indoctrination the ideological lens, through which Western reality and art had been sifted backfired: it started functioning as a reversed magnifying lens, it deformed but also transformed the signification chain, it disrupted the very process of making meaning off stage, and turned established meanings upside down.


These subversive processes in the appropriation of Tennessee Williams further deepened in the 1980s with the wind of changes, bringing glasnost and perestroika in the communist block countries. More and more, his art was appropriated for the purposes of proletarian solidarity, but also for cultural prestige. By the 1980s Tennessee Williams became the hottest name on the Bulgarian stage. Every year a new play opened somewhere (the premieres of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Camino Real, Period of Adjustment, Rose Tattoo, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur simultaneously with many revivals of the Glass Menagerie and Streetcar on the Bulgarian stage.27 Williams became emblematic for the signature method of some theatre directors as they constantly staged his plays (for example, the young director Zdravko Mitkov translated and directed three plays by Williams during the 1980s). More and more directors re-focused their attention on different issues: the need to probe into the unconscious, emotional intensity and ambiguity, neurotic condition, and sexual desire. The paradigm of aesthetic renewal dominated the approaches to the American playwright; the new versions were not alienated from the original, they opened up the text to cultural difference and re-writing. A cursory look at the critical discourses from the 1980s reveals a greater subtlety and complexity in interpretation patterns: at the center of

The following new productions marked the 1980s: A Streetcar Named Desire (Bourgas 1976, Stara Zagora 1980); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Drama Academy 1979, Stara Zagora 1981, National Theatre 1982, Yambol 1983, Silistra 1985, Shumen 1986); The Glass Menagerie (Pazardzhik, 1980; Youth Theatre, 1981, Vratza 1985); Camino Real (Drama Academy 1984); Period of Adjustment (Haskovo 1984); Rose Tatoo (Russe, 1986); Vieux Carre (199 Theatre, 1985).



attention are Williamss innovative techniques, the plasticity and symbolism of his theatre, the ascription of the plays to specific genres, philosophical issues as well as acting. For example, the reviews of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which opened at the National Theatre on March 24 1982, running for seven seasons (96 performances), focus on psychological issues such as the role of secrets in human relationships, the innate interest in the life of the human spirit or the brutality of truth.28 At the same time, critics continued to pay attention to the themes of loss and decay, failed love, divergence between romantic illusions and harsh reality. As for issues related to sexual difference they were still toned down and/ or avoided in public discussions because homosexuality was taboo in the communist rhetoric of gender sameness and pseudo equality. Yet, the more elitist-oriented theatre vogue in the 1980s appropriated Williams no longer in terms of ideology and Anti-American sentiment but rather in terms of symbolic cultural capital.

Strategies of seduction and commodification Right after the collapse of communism in 1989, Bulgarian theatre-makers were fuelled by the desire to make up for what had been forbidden for over forty years and catch up with the latest developments in Western theatre practice. Despite the severe financial problems in the 1990s the Bulgarian stage was flooded by Western drama as well as


See various reviews by E. Vassileva-Petrova, Luybomr Tenev, N. Traykova, L. Dinova in the 1980s press.


experimentation with styles, genres and acting methods: irony, derision, punning, eccentricities of sense and vision, parody dictated the new fashion of the day. In addition, theatre making was dominated by the young generation, trying on various forms: from classical text-based theatre to visual histrionics, from melodrama to rock opera, from surrealism to postmodernism. The new dictate of the market system in the theatre especially after the withdrawal of the state from its former role of financial supporter and regulator - ushered in different strategies in managing theatre production and reception, including the production and reinterpretation of Williamss works. In the 1990s there were several revivals of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire; five new Williams plays were put on stage: Sweet Bird of Youth, The Night of the Iguana, Summer and Smoke, Kingdom of Earth, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur. In the post-communist period the interest shifted towards Williamss representation of the body and its eroticization, towards a greater emphasis on physicality, nudity, and sexuality, as well as the explosion of suppressed passions. The atmosphere of eclecticism, random choice and no restrictions encouraged greater freedom and frivolity in the interpretations of his drama in order to shock or seduce the audience. To illustrate this tendency let me briefly discuss the 1993 production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Sofia Army Theatre, where the director Nikolay Lambrev violated the original play in order to secure commercial success for the production. Despite Williamss insistence in the Notes for the Designer on pale colors and lyrical atmosphere, the set (designed


by Nina Pashova) featured a solid black backdrop and furniture in dark or dull metallic colors thus the stage looked more like the interior of a prison cell than the home of the Deltas biggest cotton planter.

What is more, some symbolically loaded objects were replaced by contrived devices (such as a hanging cage and pool of water downstage) which created a rigid, claustrophobic and mechanical-like atmosphere instead of the poetically haunted southern setting, exuding warm light and nostalgia in the original. In addition, the nudity scenes in the production were overdone and unjustified, reinforced by too many gestures of violence and aggression on stage all inadequate elements, intentionally inserted to seduce more theatre-goers. Many of the liberties taken by theatre-makers in the 1990s can be attributed to the new economic and financial restrictions, but in my opinion they emerged in response to the earlier ideological and artistic restrictions in the theatre. This counter-reaction to former ideologization and politicization strategies brought to the forth the most narcissistic and seductive elements in Williamss art, additionally reinforced by the new


taste for sheer entertainment, for the shocking, the exotic, and the vulgar. The post-communist commercialization of the Bulgarian theatre quickly destroyed the distinction between highbrow culture and lowbrow culture, between theatre aesthetics and the entertaining real of the reality TV format. The postmodern blurring of distinctions produced a leveling effect on all cultural phenomena: Western pop culture became as important (or even more important) as theatre classics, Tennessee Williams became as significant as Neil Simon, whereas A Streetcar Named Desire was considered as good as The Two-Character Play or any other play. By the beginning of the 21st century the radical extremes of the visible ideology of communism and the invisible ideology of market hedonism had melted down. The few revivals of Williamss works in the new millennium (sometimes announced as retro-drama) reflect a more varied paradigm of nuanced interpretations. For example, one of the best productions was put on stage in 2005 - almost forty years after the Bulgarian premiere of A Streetcar Named Desire in 1968 again by the Army Theatre in Sofia (director Krikor Azaryan). This latest revival demonstrates coherence in directing style and scenic design, great acting, and translates in a most intimate way (both visually and acoustically) the lyricism of Williamss drama. Unlike the critical discourses from 1968, the new production has been described by contemporary critics as an exciting journey into the most intimate secrets of the human soul, and as an exploration of the clash between primitive masculinity and delicate femininity, between tenderness and cruelty (the Program notes). The production neither erases nor exploits social and sexuality issues; what is


more, it seeks no sensationalism. Yet, it has been quite a success perhaps the longest running Williams production in Bulgaria (so far running for 7 seasons with over 130 performances).

Conclusions In conclusion, it can be easily said that the fifty-year presence of Tennessee Williams on the Bulgarian stage has been rather provocative. No matter how we picture the process of cross-cultural transfer in the theatre as an hourglass, as a third space between inner and outer frames or in concentric circles, the changing patterns of his reception reveal that he has been re-appropriated, re-historicized and read anew over the years depending on the value system, ideological prescriptions, norms, and conventions of the receiving Bulgarian culture or what Marvin Carlson has called local semiosis. All these processes of cultural and ideological re-adjustment have been of utmost importance in painting Williamss drama red, pink or black and blue. Cited works Bennet, Susan. Theatre Audiences: A Theory of Production and Reception. London: Routledge, 1990. Londre, Felicia. A Streetcar Running Fifty Years, The Cambridge Companion to Tennessee Williams, ed. Mathew C. Roudane, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Pavis, Patrice. Theatre at the Crossroads of Cultures. London and New York: Routledge, 1992. Shaland, Irene. Tennessee Williams on the Soviet Stage. Langhem, London:University Press of America, 1987.



Abstract Breaking from the realistic tradition in American drama, Williams introduced his concept of the "plastic" theatre by incorporating expressionistic elements of dialogue, action, sound, setting, and lighting in his works. For his remarkable ability to evoke universal experience in multi-dimensional characters and provocative plots that transcend geography and social milieu, Williams is recognized as a major influence in the development of post-war American theatre. Key words: drama, stage techniques, multi-dimensional characters, tragedy, situation of woman, collapse.

General aspects of Tennessee Williamss work Tennessee Williams derives his themes from psychoanalysis, conferred upon American drama by the influence of Freud's theories given in the books namely Suppressed Desires and Interpretation of Dreams.Tennessee Williams was suffering from Oedipus complex because in his earlier life he could not get attached to his father; he found convincing attraction in his mother Unconsciously it affected him and it found expression in his writings, in the form of portraits- at times as that of his sister and at others in his own. The characters in Tennessee Williams's plays attempt to create an aura of illusions in order to either forget the unpleasant reality of human existence or to avoid certain experiences of the past. Sometimes


they are also fed up with this material life and the worldly-wise people that inhabit it. Such illusions serve as an escape for them and also enable them to remain disguised in a make-believer world. In the play Orpheus Descending Mrs. Torrance and, in A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche Dubois symbolically refer to his mental state. In these plays sex, which was considered a taboo, is treated by Williams in a shocking and revolutionary manner. He generated the germ of the new spirit of freedom for woman to find sexual fulfillment (symbolized by the West) and this idea is in conflict with the moral Puritanism of New England. Actually he tries to balance his mental delirium through wish- fulfillment of his repressed desires which had been controlled by the Puritanical code of conduct taught by his mother Edwina Williams.

Female characters The people in my play are romantics confronted by very real situations as they come to the end of the road.It is a real road.The about the indomitability of the romantic spirit.I approve of romantics.They fascinate me. ( Williams, New York Times, 1960) Williamss romantic characters, who are in conflict with a harsh material world, were nothing new in 1950s.He had established his apocalyptic and romantic sensibility before.The collapse of his female characters also represented a collapse of a culture and its myths,They are romantics caught in a culture on the brink of collapse.


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the story of a Southern family in crisis, especially the husband and wife, Brick and Margaret (usually called Maggie or "Maggie the Cat"), and their interaction with Brick's family over the course of one evening gathering at the family estate in Mississippi.

Maggie is, well, a cat. She is also a survivor. We learn that her father was an alcoholic and that her mother sewed her clothes when she was growing up. They didn't have things like cashmere sweaters. When she made her debut into Southern Society (a.k.a. went to a fancy party full of cats on hot tin roofs), she only had two dresses: one, a hand-medown, and the other, sewn by her mother. In the first act, we watch Maggie change out of a dress ruined by the no-neck monsters. She hopes her see-through slip will entice Brick, but when it's clear it does not and will not, she gradually dresses up as the act progresses. In this way, the audience watches her choose an outfit for an important event. Her looks are a weapon that she will wield in order to


get what she wants. She flirts with Big Daddy in order to charm him and warm him to her cause. Strangely, we realize just how much Maggie is using her appearance when she is all by herself. Directly following Big Mama's exit in Act I, we see Maggie look at herself in the mirror. Her shoulders hunch, she clenches her fists, and she shuts her eyes tight, "as a child about to be stabbed with a vaccination needle" (I.48.737-738); when she opens her eyes, she looks at herself and asks, "who are you?" (I.48.740741). In this really weird moment that makes us just a little uncomfortable, we realize the extent to which she is "performing" when she is with others. It's almost like we meet her split personality here, Maggie the dog the cool young woman who's just trying to get some direction or some sweet lovin'. We know we're watching a play, and that means there are actors involved, but we don't quite know what to do when actors act like people acting. That's like two layers of drama. So who is the real Maggie, then? Maggie the cat or Maggie the dog? She is also an aggressive woman, one who's trying to earn the bacon. Through efforts like flirting with Big Daddy, buying cashmere sweaters, and trying to make babies, Maggie ensures their survival. She's taking care of Brick. Brick's standing in doorways and singing to the moon. For the June Cleaver era, Maggie is kind of like Angelina Jolie. Stereotypical gender roles need not apply. The position has been filled by one Maggie the Cat/Dog, who is a boyish, girly woman. In a world in which everything is either rotten or bizarrely fertile, a world haunted by the horrors of slavery and the history of the Old South, Maggie is the outsider. She's an alien. She has married into the Pollitt family and therefore has nothing to


do with all the creepy things that have gone on in the Pollitt household and on the Pollitt plantation before her arrival. Unlike Mae, who also married into the family, Maggie is different for one major reason: she doesn't have children. She may be baby-less during the play, and she may want a baby more than anything in the world, but aren't you kind of glad she's not part of the Pollitt Mothers' Club? Maggie's inability to bring a child into the world makes her seem like even more of a Martian to the Pollitts. But that doesn't seem to be such a bad thing. She is able to bring a child into the world (well maybe not literally...yet) only when Big Daddy Pollitt, patriarch extraordinaire and symbol of American mobility, realizes he's dying for good. Maggie and her future baby, therefore, represent and herald a new era for the Pollitt family. The character of the Princess in Sweet Bird of Youth is Tennessee Williams in drag. He has made her a woman, but as he said himself, 'I've made every speech that the Princess has made, and then some.' But then, I've met women who are Tennessee Williams in drag. But these characters are women. What's really refreshing about his women is that they may be victims of circumstance, but they make choices. Right or wrong, doesn't matter. At the end, Princess leaves knowing exactly what will happen to Chance. She chooses stardom over humanity. His homosexuality makes him non-judgmental about his women. Most straight male writers adapt women to a set of circumstances, but he gives them a much broader range. Circumstance is made to bend to the women, who often make the final move.


A Streetcar Named Desire is a stage play with elements of tragedy and pathos. .A Streetcar Named Desire centers on a desolated woman named Blanche DuBois. Reared in Old South aristocratic traditions, she lived elegantly in the family homestead, married a man she adored, and pursued a career as an English teacher. But her life fell apart when she discovered that her husband, Allen Grey, was having a homosexual affair. Disgraced, he killed himself. Blanche sought comfort in the arms of other men, many men. After she had relations with one of her students, a 17year-old, authorities learned of the encounter and fired her. Meanwhile, relatives died and she could not keep up the family home. Eventually, creditors seized it. The play begins when Blanche arrives in New Orleans to stay with her sister, Stella, and her crude, outspoken husband, Stanley Kowalski. Though scarred by her past, Blanche still tries to lead the life of an elegant lady and does her best, even lying when necessary, to keep up appearances.


Blanche lives in a cocoon of unreality to protect herself against her weaknesses and shortcomings, including her inability to repress sexual desire. To preserve her ego, she lies about her promiscuous behavior in Laurel; she shuns bright light, lest it reveal her physical imperfections; and she refuses to acknowledge her problem with alcohol. Stanley effectively penetrates her cocoon verbally with his crude insults and physically with his sexual coup de main near the end of the play. Stanley has his own problem: He lacks the insight to see what he really isa coarse, domineering macho man ruled by primal instincts. Unlike Blanche, though, he is happy in his ignorance. For her part, Stella accepts the truthpartly. She acknowledges that Stanley is crude and that her apartment is cramped and shabby. But, in the end, she refuses to accept the truth about her sisters past and about Stanleys violation of Blanche. Stanley has defeated her mentally. Her inert figure reflects how totally helpless and defeated she is. loud music echoes her defeat and her collapsed mental condition. Blanche herself represents old traditional ways of life, her rape symbolises the new world destroying and annihilating the old. Chances Realisation Facing Up I don't ask for your pity, but just for your understanding--not even that--no. Just for your recognition of me in you, and the enemy, time, in us all. Chances understanding of his future, his realisation of what hes done. Sex She seems to believe that by continually asserting her

sexuality, especially toward men younger than herself, she will be able to


avoid death and return to the world of teenage bliss she experienced before her husband's suicide. The final destruction of the Old South, symbolized by Blanche and Belle Reve (the family property seized by creditors). This theme not unlike that in Margaret Mitchells Gone With the Windbegins to unfold in the opening scene of the play. Two women, one white and one black, sit as equals on the steps of an apartment building while Blanche arrives on scene accoutered in the attitude and finery of a southern belle of yesteryear. She is an alien, a strange creature from another time, another place. The theme of despoliation of the sensitive and feminine by the feral and masculine. Blanche and her first husband, a homosexual, cannot survive in the world of Stanley and his kind. Stanley is a robust weed who grows in Blanches carefully cultivated garden of lilies. The theme of unbridled sexual desire leads to isolating darkness and eventually death. Williams establishes this theme at the beginning of the play, when Blanche takes a streetcar named Desire (sex), transfers to one named Cemeteries (Death), and gets off at a street named named Elysian Fields (the Afterlife). He maintains the theme during the play with references to Blanches first husband, a homosexual who committed suicide after she caught him with another man, and with Blanches literal and figurative retreat into the shadows after having many sordid affairs. She shuns bright lights; she dates Mitch only in the evening. Another theme, all that glitters is not gold. This Shakespearean motif manifests itself in Blanches inability to grasp how Stanley and Stella can succeed at marriage without the finer things of life.


Belle Reve: Name of Blanche's family home in Mississippi. It represents the "beautiful dream" (the meaning of Belle Rve in French) that Blanche seeks but never experiences. Blanche's white suit: Blanche is wearing white clothing and gloves, as well as pearl earrings, when she arrives in New Orleans to suggest that she has a pristine character. However, she prefers darkness and shadows to mask her physical perfections and, symbolically, her sinful behavior. As Blanche is wearing white, Williams gives her a moth like appearance, using the dress to hide her inner sins. Her actions depict the flutterings of a delicate moth. Just as a moth is attracted to the light, which consequently kills it. Blanche tries to avoid the light and when Mitch ultimately forces her into the light, her destruction begins. Blanche's frequent bathing: Her attempt to wash away her past life. Alcohol: Another way Blanche washes away bad memories. Bright light: Penetrating gaze of truth that sees the real Blanche with all her imperfections. When she greets Stella the first time in the apartment, she says, "And turn that over-light off! Turn that off! I won't be looked at in this merciless glare!" Blanche avoids bright lights throughout the play. Blanche: Blanche means white in French, andin keeping with her nameshe wears a white dress and gloves in the opening scene of the play to hide her real self in the purity that white suggests. Stella: Stella means star or like a star in Latin, although she lives in a shabby apartment building in a lower-class section of New Orleans. It


could be argued that she is the star of her husbands life and the star that led Blanche to New Orleans. Stella is used as a functionary character to set Stanley and Blanche off against each other. They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and to transfer to one called cemetery, and get off at Elysian Fields. This is symbolic of how she has been expelled from her community and is entering into a kind of afterlife (symbolised by Elysian Fields, the Greek afterlife), the final stage of her life, where she will learn the consequences of her actions. Cemetery, symbolic of the death Desire, the reason for this death in the first place Blanches illicit tendencies. THE END OF HER TIME Whoever you are I have always depended on the kindness of strangers Blanches final line. Always depended on the kindness of strangers this is exactly why Blanche is in this mess. Indicates her total detachment from reality and her decision to see life only as she wishes to perceive it.


Frolocking in the tub reflects childish, collapsed mental state. Williams' women, more than those of any other 20th-century dramatist, only truly exist in performance. That they are merely feminised men has been disproved time and again.Williams understood women. He empathised. He had a feminine nature. He understood loss and longing and displacement in a society that had no regard for women. He identified as a gay man, it was part of his vision.The women are survivors. If Blanche weren't a survior she would have been dead before the play began. She has come to Stella's to live, to survive. It may be the last post, but she hasn't slashed her wrists. The situations of the women were devastating. They were the fighters. It's the men who are static and objectified. His women struggled within themselves and the circumstances around them. Although they are often brutalized by the situation, he thought of the women as the cats, the fighters. Stella loves sex and she loves it with Stanley. That means she has to put up with a lot. That doesn't make her a victim, it's something she wanted. It's so rare to see plays where women express their desires. It doesn't matter whether they are fulfilled or frustrated, it's never invisible. Their desire drives them. That was really shocking. Women who wanted sex and had their own desires. The women's parts in his plays are the best parts. 'THERE IS no actress on earth who will not testify that Williams created the best women characters in the modern theatre,' wrote Gore Vidal after Tennessee Williams' death in 1983.


Conlusions American playwrights have made enormous contributions to world drama during the last century, and their works are widely read and performed.Many of Williamss innovations in staging, such as the use of screen devices and musical themes, were set aside.A Streetcar Named desires was voted as the most important play of the 20th century by the American Theatre Critics Association and represents Williams at his best .Focusing on the disconnection between individuals and their society, Williams explored similar concerns regarding nature of succes and failure in a variety of social contexts, many of whicn were also made into highly successful movies to bring them to an even wider audience.

Bibliography Bloom, Harold Modern American Drama Blooms Period studies, Chelsea House Publishers, 2005 Krasner, David American Drama 1945-2000, Blackwell Publishing, 2006 Abbotson, Susan Masterpieces of the 20th century American Drama, Greenwood Press, USA, 2005 Herman, William- Understanding contemporary American drama, University of South Carolina Press, USA,1987


THE REALISM AND ITS DRAMATIC CONSEQUENCES IN T. WILLIAMS'S A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE Narcisa TIRBAN, lecturer PhD Faculty of Humanities West University "Vasile Goldi" Arad

Abstract A Streetcar Named Desire (henceforth Streetcar) revolves around the strained relationship, often turning to open hostility, between its two main characters. When the play is staged or filmed, it is essential that the two actors have a strange mix of sexual chemistry and violent thoughts between them to try to capture this, being the main points of their interaction, and this goes a long way to explaining the feelings of the play. There are three main threads that run through the protracted conflict between them: sex, snobbery, and savagery. The central question however is, despite these differences and contrasts, the similarities between the two. Keywords: human value, dramatic dilemma, reality, contrasts

Both Chekhov and Pirandello created plays written in a mixture of modes which bring the individual and his suffering into relief, but they do so only by ignoring any power which transcends man and forces him to certain decisions. Some qualification of this statement is required to adjust it to Chekhov, but by and large both the dramatists discussed show humanity in a purely human setting. Man can understand himself by understanding others. Tennessee Williams recognizes this as a possibility, but he cannot, as Pirandello and Chekhov do, simply deny the validity of the realistic perspective. His plays are unresolved battles between


Pirandello's stage manager and the characters, and his heroes are usually, though not always, mixtures of the other characters. In each of his plays, Williams poises the human need for belief in human value and dignity against a brutal, naturalistic reality; similarly, symbolism is poised against realism. But where the earlier playwrights were able to concentrate on human values, Williams has been unable to do so because of his conviction that there is a "real" world outside and inside each of us which is actively hostile to any belief in the goodness of man and the validity of moral values. His realism gives expression to this aspect of the world, and A Streetcar Named Desire is his clearest treatment of the human dilemma which entails the dramatic dilemma.

We are presented in Streetcar with two polar ways of looking at experience: the realistic view of Stanley Kowalski and the "non-realistic" view of his sister-in-law, Blanche DuBois. Williams brings the two views into conflict immediately. When Blanche first arrives in the "Elysian Fields" she is terrified by its shabbiness, animality, and dirt, and, pointing vaguely out the


window, says, "Out there I suppose is the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir!" Her sister, Stella, replies, "No, honey, those are the L and N tracks." This is the basic problem which has kept the modern theater boiling: Is the modern world best described as ghoul-haunted woodland" or a neutrally denominated something like "The L and N tracks?" The question is kept open in Streetcar in a number of ways. Stanley, suspicious about the amount of clothes and jewelry that Blanche has, decides that she has cheated Stella, and therefore himself, of her inheritance of the old plantation. He, however, mistakes rhinestones for diamonds, junk jewelry for genuine, imitation furs for white fox, and a mortgage-ridden, twentyacre, decayed plantation for a cotton kingdom. The mistake is the mistake of the realist who trusts to literal appearances, to his senses alone. In the course of the play Williams manages to identify this realism with the harsh light of the naked electric bulb which Blanche covers with a Japanese lantern. It reveals pitilessly every line in Blanche's face, every tawdry aspect of the set. And in just this way Stanley's pitiless and probing realism manages to reveal every line in Blanche's soul by cutting through all the soft illusions with which she has covered herself. But it is important to note that it is an artificial light, not a natural one, which reveals Blanche as old and cheap. She is so only when judged by a way of looking at things which insists that the senses are the only true measure of things, and only that is real which is a "thing."

But while the play makes clear the limitations of realism as an approach to experience, it makes it equally clear that this view must be


accepted, however much we may dislike it; and Williams here and in his other plays dislikes it a great deal. The "realistic" point of view has the advantage of being workable. Blanche's romantic way of looking at things, sensititive as it may be, has a fatal weakness: it exists only by ignoring certain portions of reality. This is shown in a number of ways in Streetcar, principally in Blanche's refusal to face up to certain acts of her past and the present reality of her own sexual drives which she covers over with such words as "flirting." The movement of the play is towards a stripping away of these pretensions and culminates in the scene where Stanley rapes Blanche.As Stanley destroys each of Blanche's pretensions, pointing out that she didn't "pull any wool over this boy's eyes," Blanche tries desperately to telephone for help, but doesn't know the address. She turns to the window, still looking for help, and looks at the facts: "A prostitute has rolled a drunkard. He pursues her along the walk, overtakes her and there is a struggle. A policeman's whistle breaks it up.... Some moments later the Negro woman appears around the corner with a sequined bag which the prostitute had dropped on the walk. She is rooting excitedly through it." Here is reality, "raw and lurid," the animal struggle for existence which has replaced the bourgeois drawing room in the modern theater. Yet Blanche has always known these facts. Her husband turned out to be a pervert, then committed suicide. Belle Reve was mortgaged away to provide for the "epic fornications" of her ancestors, and death in its most terrible shapes made its home in her house for many years. When reproached by Mitch for deception she replies, simply, "I didn't lie in my heart." Just as she had turned from the


death in Belle Reve to the "life" of casual amours, so she had turned away from the misery of "reality" to her romantic evasions. But Stanley hates her, has to prove his dominance, and after analyzing her in his own "realistic" terms, rapes her. Reality has forced itself on her, and she has no way left to travel except madness and death. She cannot live with what Williams and most men of our time unhappily regard as reality. But it remains for Stella to make a choice. She stands between these two, for they are the pure products of their respective views while Stella, like most humans, participates in both, born kin to the "romantic" and married to the "realistic." Her moral sense is still active, for she points out to Eunice that "I couldn't believe [ Blanche's] story and go on living with Stanley." Eunice's answer contains the dreadful truth of our times, "Don't ever believe it. Life has got to go on. No matter what happens, you've got to keep on going." Man, then, says the play, has a moral sense and an aesthetic sense which looks on the world and names it correctly "The ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir," but such knowledge is useless though not untrue. Useless because you can only live in that Woodland if you rob it of all its terrors by giving it the neutral and spiritually empty denomination of "The L and N tracks." This is the pragmatic test, and behind it lies the only "truth" that Williams will maintain, "you've got to keep on going." For Williams, as for Pirandello, the "truth" of Nature is undefinable. He only knows that the face it turns toward us is brutal and


savage, the "real camino," not the "Camino Real." But rather than trying to penetrate it he falls back on showing that "realism" is simply a manmade mode of coming to terms with a world it could not otherwise face. Yet Williams's violent fluctuations between expressionism and a Zolaesque realism, his delight in rich symbolism even in the midst of his most realistic plays, suggest a sensitive awareness of absolute moral values and of a Nature which transcends the misery of the "Elysian Fields."

References Bloom, Harold, A Streetcar Named Desire. Modern Critical Interpretations. New York: Chelsea, 1988. Brown, John Mason. Two on the aisle; Ten years of the American theatre in performance, Kennikat Press, 1969) Donahue, Francis. The Dramatic World of Tennessee Williams. New York: Ungar, 1964. Miller, Jordan Y, Twentieth Century Interpretations of A Streetcar Named Desire. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1971


THE GLASS MENAGERIE: TOM'S FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE Angela JIREGHIE, PHD Senior Lecturer Faculty of Humanities West University "Vasile Goldi" Arad Abstract In writing The Glass Menagerie Williams drew extensively upon his own experiences and those of his family. The play revolves around Amanda Wingfield and her adult children, Tom and Laura, who live, as Williams's family had, in a dingy tenement in depression-era St. Louis. Williams's autobiographical protagonist, Tom, both narrates and participates in the action onstage. Commentators agree that the primary theme of The Glass Menagerie is the conflict between illusion and reality. Tom's only way of getting his independence is in his dreams of becoming somebody, dreams that never became reality. Keywords: conflict, reality, dream, depression

The Glass Menagerie quickly became an American classic. Speaking to the universal theme of the young man needing to break away from his family, to discover his own individual path, this play has


touched generation after generation. It balances Tom's hunger for independence with the parallel pull of the family, the basic unit of our civilization. Amanda is not just one mother, she is "Mother" writ large. Most viewers recognize in her their own experience of the smothering love of an over-protective parent, their own rebellion against the controlling mother figure. Tom, an autobiographical picture of Williams in his midtwenties, is "a poet with a job in a warehouse". He mirrors Williams' appetite for literature, movies, and travel. He is having trouble at the warehouse because of his penchant for writing poems on shoe boxes when he should be working. At the end of the play, Tom Wingfield finds his own escape hatch, becoming a sailor. After investing the money for the electric bill in dues for the Union of Merchant Seamen, Tom abandons his family to save himself. Like Tom Williams himself, he becomes a wanderer and a loner. Williams portrays Tom as a man trapped by economic pressures, forced to work at tasks that will emasculate him over time. Unlike his friend Jim, Tom is not interested in success and is not willing to spend a lifetime trapped in mechanical and meaningless chores. He must escape in order to find his own truth. In the narrator's voice, we hear the poetic, ironic tone of the outsider who has managed to transform this individual situation into a universal commentary on being true to one's self. In his double role as central character and objective commentator, he portrays his frustrations, his anger, and his sorrow. In his final sad meditations he reveals his own conflicted love for these people. Independence must be purchased at a significant price.


This American family reveals the perennial conflicts between individual needs and perceived obligations. Laura's future becomes the central obligation of this family; someone will have to take care of her. Amanda expresses eloquently the humiliation of the deserted wife and the unmarried woman in the Southern culture, and she fears that Laura will become a "front porch girl" -- one who sits on the porch in the evenings watching others marry and raise their children. Williams frequently spoke of this lost lady, who is not suited for the marriage game, cannot earn a living in the modern world, and has no role in modern fragmented family units. In an earlier time, she would have been the spinster aunt, shuttled from one family member to another, becoming a collective obligation. By the 1930s, families rarely lived in great, rambling houses with enough space to accommodate long-term visitors. The shrunken family, isolated from its relatives in its apartment or bungalow, crowded into big cities, had no space for the superfluous dependents. Without that community of concern, Laura becomes Amanda's problem -- and Tom's. Thus, if we see the story from Tom's point of view, this is the battle to survive. In order to achieve his own potential as a poet, he must be a free man. But in order to behave like a good son and loving brother, he must remain in bondage. The decision to escape the "tender trap" is a necessary cruelty. Williams is telling his own story here, realizing that he escaped his sister's tragedy by transferring the full responsibility onto his mother. He rarely visited her in those first days of institutionalization; he did not participate in the decision to allow doctors to perform the frontal lobotomy. He avoided St. Louis and the agonizing decisions that his


mother was forced to make. Tennessee Williams never quite escaped from the guilt of that bid for freedom. Moving from individual experiences to a larger theme, this is also the story of a changing culture. Williams was deeply impressed by the difference between the traditions of the South, with its strong sense of family ties, community relationships and roles; its manners and morality; its faith and history. By contrast, he found St. Louis to be shallow, crude, and materialistic -- an image of modern urban America. The old values, undoubtedly agrarian as well as Southern, that he had known in Clarksdale, were no longer practical in a busy city. People did not know these strangers, who tried with a certain comic dignity to maintain their pride, their speech, and their habits. Amanda wanted to entertain graciously; she wanted her meals to be formal experiences; her grotesquely elegant costume mirrors her anachronistic dream. Like Chekhov's lost aristocrats, these are people the world has passed by. Even Tom, the only one who escapes this claustrophobic transplanted piece of the Old South, is sentimental about its beauty. Yet we see also the destructiveness of a culture that would fix women and Blacks in roles that they are expected to play regardless of changing circumstances. This culture, frozen in time, would limit Tom's reading to proper works by polite writers and Laura's choices. In scene after scene, Williams shows Amanda as a victim of her own assumptions about how women should behave, how they should spend their lives, whom they should marry, what domestic chores they should perform, how they should dress, entertain, and talk. She is not just a peculiar old woman: she is a symbol of a dying civilization.


On an even more universal level, this story is about the effects of the industrial revolution on the American family. Although Williams emphasizes the Depression context of the narrative, we know that the pressures on Tom Wingfield extend beyond the span of the 1930s. The growth of big industries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries had both forced families from the farms and small towns and lured them to great cities, where the personal needs of fragile folk are easily neglected. The polluted air, boring work, and separation from a caring community proved harmful to the mental and physical health of many displaced people. The emphasis on the "hivelike" buildings of ugly colors with their fire escapes underscores the separation from nature, beauty, and human values. This is not the proper habitat for the dreamer, the poet, or the fragile cripple. Yet, all too often, it is the setting for the young man or woman in urban America. Williams, in The Glass Menagerie, is providing us a microcosm in which we can visualize the larger questions of the entire era. References Adler, Thomas P. American Drama 1940-1960: A Critical History. New York: Twayne, 1994. Berman, Jeffrey. The Talking Cure: Literary Representations of Psychoanalysis. New York: New York UP, 1985. Bigsby, C. W. E. A Critical Introduction to Twentieth-Century American Drama, volume 2: Cambridge UP, 1984 Bloom, Harold, The Glass Menagerie: Modern Critical Interpretations. New York: Chelsea, 1988. Porter, Thomas E. Myth and Modern American Drama. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1969.


A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE: SYMBOLS OF DYNAMISM AND FORCE Viorica BANCIU, PhD Senior lecturer The Faculty of Socio-Humanistic Sciences University of Oradea Abstract The play A Streetcar Named Desire presents the status of a heroine, in her attempt to grasp the final victory but which finally ends in defeat. Especially after the late 1940s it became commonplace for critics to talk of the always present "common man" of modern American drama, one who is already defeated at the outset of the play's action, who struggles at best passionately but always futilely, and who is always too low in mankind's moral hierarchy to manage any semblance of downfall, let alone a downfall with tragic impact. Keywords: stereotype, status, heroine, tragic end, dynamism

Blanche DuBois is Williams' most famous creation. He made her a woman with a checkered history. She had been a romantic and lovely young girl who lived with her wealthy family in Laurel, at Belle Reve - a version of Scarlett O'Hara's Tara. She fell in love when "too young" with Allan Grey, a gentle, poetic young man who wrote her beautiful letters. On their honeymoon, she discovered him in a compromising situation with another man. Later, when they were dancing at Moon Lake Casino, Blanche confronted Allan with her recognition, saying, "You disgust me" He ran from the dance floor, and she then heard the shot as he committed suicide. Her pain and guilt made this the central traumatic moment in her life. As she said, "And then the searchlight


which had been turned on the world was turned off again and never for one moment has there been any light that's stronger than this - kitchen candle".

This horror trailed her home, where she was to watch Belle Reve disintegrate, lost bit by bit to debts and "epic fornications" of the males in the family. She was destined to attend to one after another of her dying relatives. By then, she had become an English teacher in Laurel and had also begun a series of sexual encounters with the young soldiers at the local military base. Her reputation was already clouded, but her double life of proper school mistress and town tramp ended with her seduction of one of her young students. The family lands were now gone, she was fired from her job and forced to leave town. This is the point at which she appears at the Kowalski household. It is no wonder she is overwrought and verging on hysteria. She is a frantic, trapped woman, still proud, still determined to survive. Because she assumes that she must pretend to be the innocent romantic in order to attract men, she hides her past, her age, and her sexual appetites. (Part of the Southern mystique of the lady is her purity of mind and body.) The action gradually reveals that she is addicted to


long baths, strong drink, cigarettes, and young men. She commands center stage by her outrageous behavior, but she also commands it by her eloquent speech and her occasionally insightful vision of reality. She is not only the best educated, the most poetic, and the most passionate of the characters; she is also the most courageous. The ending, when she displays grace in her fall, is a classical tragic triumph of the essentially noble hero. By contrast, Stella is a thoroughly average woman, a stereotypical wife and mother, who is content to live with life-lies. She reflects little of their shared Belle Reve background, is quite content to settle into Stanley's strong arms until Blanche comes along to serve as an uncomfortable reminder of her past. Although she listens sympathetically to Blanche's hysterical discourses, she loves Stanley and their lusty life together. A little vulgarity and violence do not disturb her placid acceptance.

Some of this difference between the sisters may be attributed to the different paths their lives have taken. Stella left Belle Reve much earlier than Blanche. She did not stay to witness the family decline, but went off independently to the city. She fell in love with Stanley when he was in the service, in a uniform that disguised his different class. Thrilled


by his sexual violence, she seems content to have climbed down off her pedestal. Her decision at the end of the story to stay with her brutal husband disturbed censors, who required that Stanley be punished. They demanded that she indicate that she and the baby would never return to him, but we know that Williams' uncensored ending was more likely. As Blanche is led away, Stanley reaches inside Stella's blouse and both comforts and arouses her. Of course she would remain with him; she is his woman. This time, Cornelius Coffin Williams, Williams' father, takes his place on stage - as a model for Stanley Kowalski. He is a strutting, sexual, loud, physical man's man. A salesman, he is a natural leader who enjoys his life - the poker nights, the drinking, the wild sexuality, the fights, the bowling. Stella thinks he is destined for success. Blanche thinks he is a Neanderthal. They are both right. Stanley is smart enough to understand when Blanche is insulting him, when she is belittling or challenging him. He also senses her attraction to him and confronts her flirtatiousness. He knows a temptress when he sees one. In his own crude way, he is sensitive to the morality of the situation and is determined to protect his home from this threat. The gentleman caller this time is Mitch, a buddy of Stanley's, at the beck and call of his domineering mother, a character never appearing on stage but always present in his thoughts. Mitch, like the long-lost Allan, is more gentle than Stanley, more dazzled by Blanche's Southern charm. He becomes an easy target for Blanche, whom he envisions as a reincarnation of his dying mother. He cannot deal with Blanche's final disclosures; she read him right. He, like most men, would require that his


wife be pure and unsullied. Blanche would, at this point, be fit only as a mistress. Yet we see him as a sympathetic commentator in the final scene, now judging Stanley's brutality and ashamed at his own participation in Blanche's tragedy. The characters are more dynamic in this play than in Menagerie. They seek and respond to new information about one another, deepening their understanding and moving toward action. Their power lies in their mixed natures, combining sympathetic with repellent features. Even Stanley, usually considered the villain of the piece, has his charms, his funny moments, and his justification for actions. Blanche, supposedly the heroine, does expose bawdy and mean-spirited sides to her nature. We suspect that she is secretly jealous of her sister's happiness, attracted by Stanley's animalism. The characters in A Streetcar Named Desire are also representative of larger forces than in Menagerie. There, the struggle seemed to be a statement about the individual and the family. Here, it is expanded to comment on the "progress" of humanity. We think of Blanche's plea that Stella not "hang back with the brutes" as we watch Stella turning back toward her husband. Yet, although we agree with Blanche's plea for romance rather than "truth," we know that this is a selfish plea. She is quite willing to elect truth-telling when describing Stella's situation. Through the interplay of these fascinating characters, Tennessee Williams explores a wide array of themes that were dear to his heart.


Conclusions Blanche's tragic power lies in her ultimate acceptance of that very future she has fought so painfully, and almost successfully with Mitch, to resist. Blanche attains this acceptance with tragic dignity, forsaking her anguish but not forsaking, as the reverberations of her final statement tell us, her vision of the intimacy, her God, in whose arms she could not remain.

References Adler, Thomas P. A Streetcar Named Desire: The Moth and the Lantern. Boston: Hall, 1990. Berman, Jeffrey. The Talking Cure: Literary Representations of Psychoanalysis. New York: New York UP, 1985. Bigsby, C. W. E. A Critical Introduction to Twentieth-Century American Drama, volume 2: Williams, Miller, Albee. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984. Blackwell, Louise. "Tennessee Williams and the Predicament of Women." in Tennessee Williams: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Stephen S. Stanton. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1977, pp 100-106.


THE UNINVITED VISITOR Rodica Teodora BIRI, Associate Professor PhD Faculty of Humanities West University "Vasile Goldi" Arad Abstract In the play "A Streetcar Named Desire "he story centers around Blanche, a snobbish, in many ways sad and unhappy character with many typical outsider qualities. The fact that she has her own very characteristic features makes the story more exciting and lets the reader or watcher of the play become closer to this woman that the play is centering around. She is a family visitor, yet an uninvited one. My paper will focus on this aspect of the story. Keywords: uninvited visitor, unhappiness, status, behavior

Like The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire describes a family and a visitor. This time, however, the visitor is not invited. The play opens with Blanche's descent on the small New Orleans apartment of her sister Stella and her husband Stanley Kowalski. Like Amanda Wingfield, Blanche DuBois has fallen from earlier affluence and status:


she is again a Southern belle, no longer young and beautiful, who has lost her husband; she has also lost her family, her ancestral home, her job as a schoolteacher, and her reputation. Like Amanda Wingfield, Blanche DuBois is a small-town woman, accustomed to a position of status in her native region. Her family had, for generations, lived on the Belle Reve plantation in Laurel, Mississippi. Blanche also finds herself a stranger in the big city, this time New Orleans. This is where the play begins, taking off in a new, more daring direction: New Orleans is far more raffish than St. Louis; it is itself the very image of decadence. The names, the architecture, the history all suggest an earlier, more elegant world. The crumbling walls and moldy stones, and the pervasive blues music take on an air of easy morality, in which anything goes. Live for the day! Her challenges are quite different from Amanda's. The major problem for Blanche is her epic antagonist, Stanley Kowalski, her reluctant host.

In Streetcar, unlike The Glass Menagerie, the masculine powerfigure is present on stage. Stanley exudes a sense of ownership to the flat


where he and Stella live in a state of ecstatic sexuality. Both he and his wife are far more explicitly sexual than the women in The Glass Menagerie. Blanche, whose background is more colorful than Amanda's, is far more isolated than she. Unlike Amanda, she was only briefly a wife and has never been a mother. Her sister is her only surviving family. Stella, at first delighted that her big sister has come for a visit, is blissfully ignorant of the events that precipitated Blanche's departure from Laurel and her teaching job. From the beginning, Stanley is far more suspicious, picking up hints in her contradictory explanations and her evasiveness that she is a "phony." He also recognizes an antagonism and condescension in her tone toward him; this signals a challenge to his authority. The plot centers around this triangle and their reactions to one another. Both Blanche and Stanley are contenders for Stella's affection. Stella loves them both but is committed to her marriage, delighted that she is pregnant. Stanley would appear to be the clear victor, but Blanche wages a subtle guerrilla war for Stella's loyalty. Blanche's constant criticism of Stanley's crude behavior begins to weaken Stella's respect for her husband. Stella begins to see her husband through Blanche's eyes. Stanley understands this threat. When he overhears Blanche begging Stella to admit his primitive nature and run away from him, his original distrust turns into outright hostility. He must rid himself and his home of this peril; in the process, he must destroy her. If he is to maintain his dominance of the marriage, he cannot allow Stella to accept Blanche's evaluation of him. In the meantime, Blanche searches for a way to escape from the threat she reads in his words and actions. A traditional Southern lady, she


dreams of a romantic solution. At this age, she must settle for whatever she can find - a middle-aged bachelor, a mama's boy, who is one of Stanley's best friends. He proves to be a gentle person, clumsy, limited, but responsive. Mitch, like the Gentleman Caller, is much impressed by the overwhelming onslaught of Southern charm. He falls in love with Blanche and contemplates marrying her, Stanley cannot allow his best friend to be lured into this snare. In his code, women are divided into two categories, sluts and virgins. Only virgins are allowed to marry his buddies; sluts must be exploited and exposed. Furthermore, Blanche is the snake in his garden. In his drive to undermine her growing influence with Stella, he undertakes an investigation of her background. He discovers through a salesman who travels regularly in her region of the Delta that Blanche is notorious in Laurel for her scandalous behavior. Most recently, she has been fired from her job for her involvement with a high-school student. He quickly informs his friend. The turning point in the play is a birthday party for Blanche. As the family waits in nervous anticipation, Stanley presents Blanche with a birthday present - a bus ticket back to Laurel. Then, in a vicious followup attack, Stanley reveals that he has told Mitch the truth. Her suitor will not be coming back. The dinner itself is a travesty of holiday celebrations. Blanche's well-rehearsed jokes, Stanley's crude responses, breaking out into physical violence when he offers to "clear the table," remind us that these people come from different worlds. Even when humiliated, Blanche endeavors to be polite and charming; even when victorious, he drives on for the kill. The subsequent quarrel ends with the advent of Stella's birth pangs and her departure for the hospital.


Later in the evening, Blanche sits alone mourning her lost hopes and drinking in the dark apartment. Mitch bursts in, a transformed man, angry and drunken. He no longer wants to marry her, but does demand sex. She drives him out of the house and out of her life. Meanwhile, Stella has her baby. Stanley returns to the apartment to find a delusional Blanche, wildly overdressed in all her finery to greet her fictitious lover. They argue, tussle; Stanley finally overcomes her and carries her offstage, clearly planning to rape her. The final scene, the dnouement, takes place some days later. The family has the external appearance of having returned to harmony. Stella has returned home with her baby boy. Stanley has returned to his poker-playing cronies, including an embarrassed Mitch. Blanche, once again dominating the bathroom, seems confused and frightened. Stella and a neighbor prepare her for departure to a sanitarium; she on the other hand believes she is going to see an old lover. When an officious nurse tries to order her out, Blanche suspects the truth and resists hysterically. After a scuffle, the wise and gentle doctor leads Blanche away, offering his arm in a courtly gesture, allowing her a gracious exit scene as she murmurs, "I have always relied on the kindness of strangers." Her dignity in this exit gives her the subtle effect that marks classical tragedy - a moral victory in the face of a physical defeat. The plot has more complications than does The Glass Menagerie, and more violence. It presents far more complex relationships and delves deeper into the dark side of human nature. It requires more explication of background, more nuanced acting, and more difficult stage business. The story grows naturally out of the characters, who have a


kind of inevitability in their essence. We know that Blanche and Stanley are foreordained for an epic confrontation as soon as we see them on stage. In this path toward the climax, they display moments of humor, teasing, understanding, flirting, and veiled argument. At the end, Stanley has to display a kind of unrelenting face-saving in spite of his suppressed embarrassment. This is not the stuff of simple stagecraft. It requires experienced and talented actors. Williams toyed with numerous variations on the ending, indicating that Blanche might go mad, have an affair and a baby with Stanley, or commit suicide. When we see the finished play, we are convinced that the author made the right choice. We agree with Stanley, who, when preparing to rape Blanche, announces, "We have had this date from the beginning." To tell his story, Williams uses a series of scenes that have the cumulative effect of a single action. As in The Glass Menagerie, he abandons the neat structure of the well-made play. Rather, he employs the "cuts" of film production, with quick shifts in mood. Thus, he will have a violent scene moving to its climax-with Stanley hitting Stella, throwing the radio out the window, bellowing as his fellow poker players hose him down. This will cut to a scene where the sobered and penitent Stanley stands plaintively at the foot of the stairs, crying like a child for Stella, who descends to him slowly but inevitably. They come together in an image of human hunger - and the scene cuts. The next scene reveals Stella, the morning after, satiated, forgiving, ready to justify Stanley's behavior and to begin the cycle over. It is not necessary to tell the audience that we have witnessed simply a sample of the dynamics of this


marriage. From Stella's contented smile, we realize that Blanche is fighting a losing battle.

This pattern of violence also foreshadows the structure of the play's climax and conclusion. Blanche once again rouses Stanley's anger. But this time, Stella is not available to shift his anger into acceptable expressions of lust and thus to tame him. He turns instead on Blanche, prepares to rape her - and the scene cuts. By contrast, this intensified brutality does not have a happy ending. The final scene reveals the aftermath of the rape and the fallout of the confrontation of these arch antagonists. Stella is disturbed but again likely to forgive and justify Stanley. She now has a baby and is a hostage to fortune. She will remain with the cycle of violence and sexuality, never quite happy again. Blanche's future is equally bleak, hinted at without promise of change. Williams was not inclined to believe that people would alter their behavior, even after facing the ugly truth about themselves. His characters may remain married at the end of his plays, but they don't remain happily married. He was not given to happy endings.


Conclusion From beginning to end, A Streetcar Named Desire is flowing downward toward this final moment. When the gentle belle enters the picturesque slum, shrinks at the roar of the train and the shriek of the cat, we know she is doomed. The play is full of rapid action and violent shifts; it is also full of gentle scenes played out slowly. It is exciting theatre, beautifully constructed, with the inevitability of tragedy.

References Bloom, Harold, A Streetcar Named Desire. Modern Critical Interpretations. New York: Chelsea, 1988. Howell, Elizabeth, and Marjorie Bayes, Women and Mental Health. New York. Basic, 1981. Leverich, Lyle. Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams. New York: Crown, 1995 Thompson, Judith J. Tennessee Williams's Plays: Memory, Myth, and Symbol. New York: Lang, 1987.


TENNESSEE WILLIAMS EVOLUTION OF HIS FEMALE CHARACTERS Despina CHIRIMBU, lecturer Hyperion University, Bucharest Adina BARBU, PhDc, lecturer Sebastian CHIRIMBU, PhD lecturer Spiru Haret University Abstract One of the most prominent American writers, Tennessee Williams created a complex gallery of female characters within a real world where social issues are interwoven with subtle psychological exploration. Familiar with mental disturbances- from which he himself suffered and which led his elder sister Rose become a victim from institutionalized and later even lobotomized, Williams enhanced the complexity of feminine soul with sensitivity, vulnerability on one hand and power of fitting in a hostile, sometimes even repressive surrounding. Williams`s characters live at a horizontal level with their peers and at a vertical level with an often traumatic past leaving no hope for a better future. Keywords: female characters, Tenessees plays, horizontal/vertical level, complex/sophisticated/ambivalent and alienated characters

Historical Context Although the first permanent English settlements I America occurred at Jamestown Virginia in 1607, followed by the landing of pilgrims in New England in 1620, the entire 17th century passed without a remarkable introduction of professional theatricals, and with only slight evidence of amateur activities. The slowness to develop performing activities was due party to geographical conditions that made human habitats scattered over a huge territory on one hand and the hardships of the pioneer life on the other hand, not to ignore the attitude of a large


number of the settlers, who had been raised in a strong religious intolerance towards all kinds of shows or performances. It is at the dawn of the 18th century when theatres were built, in Williamsburg- Virginia at first, followed by Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Charleston. Opera, musical, farse or pantomimes were the major forms of performance. Professional theatre companies were set up and visits of prominent British actors such as Edmund Kean or Mathews left an unforgettable mark on the development of American performing art. It was Shakespeare, with his great tragedies, such as Richard III, Hamlet, Othello or comedies among which The Merchant of Venice, who was the favorite playwright. The first play professionally produced and written by an American author was the historical melodrama in verse called The Prince of Parthia. During the first decades of the 19th century, theatrical leadership passed to New York, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond and Savannah. The end of the 19th century, witnessed audience preference for vaudeville29, burlesques30, black musicals and skits31. The 20th century began with an outstanding change in the production of theatrical performances. Actors were manifesting a more


Vaudeville a light comic theatrical piece frequently combining pantomime, dialogue, dancing and song. 30 Burlesque theatrical entertainment of a broadly humorous character consisting of short turns or comic skits. 31 Skits a brief burlesque or comic sketch included in a dramatic performance.


marked need for freedom in expressing their characters feelings; at the same time, the costs of putting on large shows were becoming unfeasible. The beginning of the 20th century was marked by the focus on social issues. Realistic portrayals of the American working class such as the Kowalski family and their friends in T. Williams A Streetcar named Desire opened up the new subjects and new approaches as well as a more socially engaged style of writing. Radical social changes had deeply affected the American standpoint that had survived in the Roaring Twenties, the Crash, and the Depression. The darker side of people was highlighted, and the nation had to face moral, social and religious crises along with collapsing traditional values. By the middle of the 40s, two major American dramatists Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller responded to the nations growing feelings of disillusionment. Williams chose to explore psychological realism under the increasing interest in Freuds and Jungs results of their scientific research in the field of human soul. Biographic Context Born in a family of a travelling salesman- most of the time on the road, Thomas Lanier Williams lived at his grandparents rectory, in an almost exclusively female environment with his mother and older sister. His father being promoted to manager within a shoe company, the family moved to a gloomy house in St. Louis, where Williams s parents constantly argued and his sister a schizophrenic withdrew into her collection of glass animals. His sisters portrayal will later be found in the lead character of Glass Menagerie. It might as well be assumed that


Blanche Duboiss figure the lead character in A Streetcar Named Desire reminds of Tennessees sisters mental disease. Frail, often suffering from various ailments, Thomas was overprotected by his mother and bullied by his schoolmates. His father, disappointed by his sons weakness, called him Miss Nancy. This might have been one of the reasons- strong enough- to make Thomas try to escape from a life he hated through writing short stories, reviews, essays32 and travel articles. In his junior high school years, Thomas won money from advertising and magazine contests. His late teen-age years were marked by his readings of Chekhov, Strindberg and Ibsen whose works inspired him to become a playwright. Late in the 30s, his sisters mental condition worsened and she would later be given a prefrontal lobotomy, fact that Williams very found of his sister- could not face. His own hypochondria added to his bellowed sisters mental disability would create a specific maladive spiritual surrounding, which would highly influence the psychological structure of Tennessees characters.

Character Development It is undoubtedly true that almost every play Tennessee had ever written was marked by strong autobiographical elements.


Essay- a short literacy composition on a particular theme or subject, usually in prose and generally analytic, speculative or interpretative.


The women who had surrounded him in his early youth would be portrayed in a combination of accurate observation and tenderness. The playwrights towards frail women creates a special atmosphere one of understanding, empathy and sometimes even protection from total decay. Women in Tennessees plays are worthy of pity but never despicable. In general, and with women in particular, Williamss characters do not undergo a development towards self-improvement but a sort of involution towards decay and self dillusion. Victims of their societys judgment, they have unfulfilled dreams, are not strong enough to take the risks; women are unable to take responsibilities toward themselves or other members of their families. Tennessee himself was over protected by his mother and helped by his literary agent, Audrey Wood. As if in compensation, his own need for help willingly given by women who loved him, he projects his own weakness not on to his male characters but on the men who populate his plays. Men are not makers. They merely urge conflict through violent action. Tennessees plays do not enjoy much action. The plot is directly or indirectly the implacable result of the characters progress toward final decay. Slight glimpses of hope would cross his dramatic work. But this feeble breath of hope does almost never refer to women in particular. Toms sister in Glass Menagerie although surrounded by a gloomy poetic artistry, is nevertheless, a victim of her own disability, of her mothers stiff authority, of the illusion of marriage her family sentences her to live in. Her need for understanding as a dispossessed creature- is somehow pathetic. Her constant clash with her wordily, tough mother is killing her


sensitive soul as life unfortunately too often demonstrates. Repressed passion along with sexual sterility two of Tennessees favorite themesmake from A Streetcar Named Desire his masterpiece. Female characters represent the prevailing preoccupation in Williams drama. Womens concerns, anxieties, weaknesses stay at the basis of the playwrights work. He sometimes chooses to focus the readers/ viewers attention toward feminine inner life even from the very title of his work as in the Portrait of a Girl in Glass; the substance of his short story was further exploited in screenplay The gentleman Caller in which he expanded the role of a mother. Rejected by the studio, the screenplay was rewritten to become The Glass Menagerie (1944). The play enjoyed favorable reviews and the audience highly appreciated the delicacy with which the author described the lime girl. Williams, depicting the girl with stunning poetic artistry, described the inner life of a young girls soul, less emphasizing his favorite motifs, such as repressed sexual impulsive alongside violence. The play would herald a more complex psychological approach of the characters, approach which highlights less common issues, e.g illusion versus reality, fear of solitude, need for love und understanding, fears and worries of the disabled women. The character Blanche Dubois is a victim of the Southern way of treating women. She had been brought up to be a lady and when she was left alone to manage the household she proved completely unprepared and inefficient. With the money left, she buys trifles-jewelry, expensive clothes proving irresponsibility and vanity.


Conclusion Williamss characters follow either an ascending trend toward initiation in the struggle for survival ( as Stella in A streetcar) or a descending slope from an apparently stable status to total decay (as Blanche). Williams locates his characters in a certain social surrounding hostile, if not even destructive for sensitive, vulnerable souls. He uses a perspective which is turned inwardly toward a reflection in the soul of courtship events to cast a sympathetic glance onto the complex personalities of his female characters. Dealing with the complex, vulnerable, alienated characters, Williams takes on daring themes in an original style. Although wrapped in an overheated melodrama air, Tennessees characters embody the decline of a shattering world. Through these characters, Williams struggles for freedom of expression in the post-war years. Structuring such characters, he has reached an artistical climax never to be obtain thereafter.

Bibliography Chirimbu, S., Chirimbu D., Brief Encounter with World Cinema, Bacu: Docucenter, 2011 Donahue, Francis. The Dramatic World of Tennessee Williams. New York: Ungar, 1964. Miller, Jordan Y, Twentieth Century Interpretations of A Streetcar Named Desire. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1971



Abstract Since 19th. century, not for its exotic image, but for it practical vision upon life, America, has been a fabulous dream for many people in Europe. Some of them dreamed to become rich when other thought of America as a land of all freedom and pure democracy. The dark ages of Depression meant not only the end of prosperity but also the end of this dream. The World War II and the Cold War deepen the gap between the image of shinny prosperity and the American Dream and cruel reality. Tennessee Williams the famous dramatist started to become a well known writer in the Depression Age and wrote his most successful plays The Glass Menagerie, Street Car Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tinned Roof after the end of World War II, at the beginning of the Cold War. Tennessee Williams has reached the heart of American audiences by portraying the common American people and by his realistic and at the same time romantic approach. This paper aim is to present the way in which the political environment influenced the relationship between characters in Tennessee Williams most successful plays. Key Words: American Dream, depression, drama, cold war

The American Dream Since the 19th century America has been a fascinating image for all European countries. This fascination did not refer to any exotic aspect or to the beautiful natural landscapes. America was the land of all possibilities, a space of real democratic chances, of adventure in unknown spaces, a kind of Eldorado attracting all kind of people. Up to the First World War it was the place were a lot of European immigrants,


looking for adventure, for a democratic life, for a free religious environment went to find their fortune, knowing that they were able to fulfil their dream. From the political and financial point of view America was a rewarding destination, aspect which leaded to the creation of an ideal image, generally known as the American dream. Like in many other countries the end of the First World War meant not only the end of a global war, of unprecedented war but also the end of heroic illusions. When the soldiers came back after being witness of so many horrors they had to face a changed world. In the 30 America passed to what was called The Great Crisis. Started as a financial crisis on Wall Street it soon covered the whole country and became the starting point of the end of the American Dream for a lot of people from the East coast. Yet an illusion still existed, they started to migrate to the beautiful and rich California. No matter the financial difficulties America went through, for many Europeans it remained the land of their dreams. When at the end of the Great Crisis Europe was invaded by Fascism, a lot of artists and scientists especially of Jewish origin left for America and they found there a society ready to welcome them and offer a lot of opportunities. After the Second World War it was the Communism which sent a lot of remarkable personalities to USA. From Romania Mircea Eliade and Emil Palade (winner of Nobel Prize) went to America. It was during the Cold War of the 50 when the American dream started to fail. Coming back from the war the Afro-Americans, former soldiers have started to fight for their civil rights. Women who had worked as men used to do were not eager to go back into their kitchens and strong feminist movement developed. Then America, the most


powerful country of the world began to lose. First it was the war in Korea, then the long fight for Vietnam, former soldiers went back home and American post war society was not ready to receive them. Nevertheless, despite the difficulties they faced, political and military dispute they initiate and lost, for many East European countries America continued to be the land of dreams, of beauty, high technology and wellness. For people living in that part of the world, isolated for almost 50 years behind the iron curtain, only the late economic crisis, more than military unsuccessful interventions, leaded to a change of perception. For the Romanians, the attitude of USA during various disputes between the states of the former Yugoslavia was a questionable one, but people still believed in the American Dream. This attitude can be explained by the fascination induced by the cinema, the beautiful movies about West and the Frontier. It was the legend about how a poor, handsome, clever and romantic hero, always a winner, and getting a reward for his good behaviour, which kept the American dream alive. The American sociologist explains the fascination of American life upon many European countries by the fact that it is a society focus on concrete, adequate aspects of life, on action and real power33. It could also the fascination of rural regions in front of an urban and industrial civilization, offering all kind of recipes for success. In the American society of all days, even in the contemporary one an important role is played by religion by the relationship between


James apud tefan Augustin Doina - Fascinaa Americii, Secolul 20, nr. 7-8-9/1999, Bucureti


society and religion. One of well known books written about America, shortly after the Independence war is a bok written by a French sociologist De la dmocratie en Amerique (About Democracy in America) by Alexis Torqueville (1805-1859), define the essence of American liberty. He understands in a very correct way the major role played by religion in establishing the frame of the young American democracy and its public life. Since Torquevilles book was written, the American society has been shaped by the Bibles principles and many religious trends and the so called new churches. America has been for the very beginning a liberal country, but sometimes the majority influence is so strong, even tyrannical that it leads to alienation, exactly what happens in most of Tennessee Williams plays.

When the image of the American dream was still dominant, for a lot of people, American great writers such as William Faulkner, John Dos


Passos or John Updike, or those connected to theatre and cinema as Tennessee William, Eugene ONeal, Arthur Miller wrote a lot of bitter novels and plays. They all had the intuition that this image was false. They underlined in their work that America was not a country where everybody could be free and express himself according to his own will. Most of them came from the South, a place where prejudices were very strong and actually ruled society. Thing have become clearer during the Depression. Those authors characters are people oppressed by the power and narrow prejudices of the majority. They are not able to find their place in the contemporary society and soon they become a strange person, rejected by a society ruled by majority, considered to be alienating fellows. There are some critics who consider that Tennessee Williams described the American society from a social perspective, because he was aware of the fact that literature is influenced by social environment. At the same time he thought that his literature as well as the many books written by his fellow writers has influence the society and the common way of thinking and contributed to shape a new sociocultural pattern, more permissive for those who have a different profile compared to the majority.

Tennessee Williams and The American Dream The first of play written by Tennessee Williams which was a successful one is not very well known today Battle of Angels)34, and was staged in 1940. It is a drama in which the author is expressing his idea


The plays was revized and staged in 1957 under a different title OrpheuDescending.


about individual rights, underlining that everybody must have the right to speak for himself and have his/her own opinion about reality. It was just before the begining of the Second World War when reality was quite frightening. This representation was followed by Tennessee Williams great successes on Broadway Glass Menagerie, A Street car Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, bitter plays between comedy and drama which force the reader as well as the spectator to face a conflict between dream and reality and to understand the deep implication of certain real facts. Due to those great successful representations Tennessee Williams dominates the American stage up to the 60, pretty much in the same way Eugene ONeill dominated the first decades of the 20th. century. His influence was obvious especially upon cinema due to the fact the his most successful plays were turned into movies. Cinema was very popular after the war, allover the world and the way in which many people imagined American society was tailored according to Williams scenario and the atmosphere of his movies. He is complex writer who created novels, short stories, poetry as well as drama, but because of cinema great impact his celebrity is due mainly to his plays. In those plays the beautiful American dream is far away.

When Tennessee Williams started to write and to stage his plays the American society shaped by the Bible and the pragmatic religion, that type of society of 19th. century described by Tocqueville, had not entirely disappeared. It had to suffer the drama of the depression, the impact of the war tragedy, the sadness of the wounded veterans in order to become aware of its own contradictions and social and economic problems. With


cruelty and tenderness this is the society depicted in Tennessee Williams plays. In his interviews as in his Memoirs the writer confesses that much of his characters have autobiographical roots and the atmosphere is inspired by his own experience, so it is a society he knew very well and to which he was lucky enough to escape. The romantic vision upon the adventurous west and the idyllic South is replaced by a suffocated and tyrannical South. The writer did not clearly set his political opinion but those are obvious in his plays. In Glass Menagerie for example he presents a petite bourgeoisie family living under the pressure of rigid patterns and losing their illusions and dreams one by one. They do not have great or generous ideals but nevertheless they are not capable to adapt to the narrow rules of their home town. They try to find solution and those are not another political option or social attitude, but drugs and alcohol. The representation of the play was very successful on Broadway as in many American towns even if the text itself was innovative. The public has to focus on the stream of consciousness not on action, the conflict being an inner one The family and family life were always major topics in American Literature much more than political disputes or social conflicts. The latest are presented only if they are connected to the family life or if they are mirrored in the family conflicts and analysed from that perspective. In his first play, Battle of Angels, generally known as e Orpheus Descending the author proclaims the right of each person to express his opinion and to promote authentic feelings and attitudes. In A Streetcar Named Desire this tendency is even more clearly set, when the audience is witness to the drama of a woman who makes desperate efforts to hide her empty soul.


Theatre as a Political Statement Tennessee Williams was aware of the deep drama of American society of the fact that a certain regained prosperity was hiding the moral confusion of the post war society. In the 60 his work became dark and bitter; it is the period of his literary and personal life that he used to call the Stone Age. Williams ranks after Eugene O'Neill as the greatest playwright in the history of American letters, a little higher than such contemporary masters as Edward Albee and August Wilson. Though he never won a Nobel Prize, as did O'Neil, Williams won two Pulitzer Prizes, for A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955). Yet he was not very polite to this society and continued to be very critical. He noticed that America was going to forget its main moral values and its liberty traditions. He did not approve the way in which some delicate subjects such as homosexuality or minority rights were hidden by society. His critical vision became more and more accurate and his critics were not able to follow him. His plays among which The Night of Iguana were not capable to reach the same success as The Glass Menagerie, dispute this, the movie inspired by his text has had a great success. Tennessee Williams became aware of the fact that social liberty was failing and had turned into a concept manipulated by the media. Ordinary people were not aware in the 50 of the drama of the Korean War, nor were they in the 70 of the atrocities of the Vietnam War. The war of Vietnam was one of the first great mass-media manipulations, which had an enormous impact upon American society. Among people


who escaped the tragedy of those wars one may found the drug consumers, homeless, alienate persons, all those strange characters that Tennessee Williams depicted so well, they became real; they were living with ordinary American citizens, next to their clean cozy houses. Today everybody can talk everywhere about drugs, abortion, homosexuality, but when he dare to write about it and to maculate the fancy face of prosperous America, they were forbidden subjects. When in his plays he made then subject of public debates the first to attack him was the Catholic Church. Williams was aware of the force of his theatre, as he pointed in many interviews and he knew that the image of America did not change due to a political attitude, or a fancy politician, but because of his drama.

In Tennessee Williams play the contemporary uncertainty and confusion is anticipated, his characters as many people in contemporary America had lost their ideal vision upon society and they are searching


for new dreams. His plays are about ordinary people and for ordinary people, those who are not interested in politics but are dreaming of a decent life. Today the confusion and depression which dominates his literary work are more and more real. Just because he appreciated Ernest Hemingway and visited Fidel Casro, some of his contemporaries accused Tennessee Williams of communist feelings. Just after the war, in the middle of the cold war American society was very sensitive to each item suggesting communism. He visited Castro, when he went to Cuba and was impressed by the fact that the dictator had read some of his plays. He did not admire him but like many other writer he was pleased to be appreciate, no matter by whom. His meeting with some French writer such as Franoise Sagan, Jean Paul Sartre or Simone de Beauvoir were purely literary and they took place in non political environment.

Conclusions At the beginning of the third millennium Americas profile is quite different compared to that which created the American Dream. Its image as a land of complete freedom and prosperity was left behind and the evil depicted by Tennessee Williams in his writing is no more just the image of a writer imagination. Now it is obvious that before many others he was able to detect those aspects which overshadow the beautiful image of emerging USA. In Tennessee Williams drama all the traditional and real values of American society are reinterpreted and re-evaluated in an original way. That is why, even when the critics have left him alone the public


followed him. With his deep sensitivity and intuition the playwright was able to detect the evil long before politicians and great economic specialists. Authentic with a lot of autobiographical elements his work is pointing the good parts and the evil ones in a society which is still looking for its way. When Tennessee Williams started to write his drama the temple of the American theatre was on Broadway. Now Broadway itself is crossing a deep crisis, the performances of the great American authors being replaced by kitsch representations for rich tourists. The glory is built now by the cinema. Tennessee Williams was aware of that and turned lot of his plays into movies, fact that made him very popular all over the world. One hundred years after his birth he is still one of the famous American writer, staged in many countries and people are still watching his movies. He may like it or not, but he is an American value and as much as he tried to demonstrate how pale the American Dream was, he became part of it.

References Cunliffe, Marcus The literature of the United States, Penguin Book, 1968 Doina, t. A. Fascinaa Americii, Secolul 20, nr. 7-8-9/1999, Bucureti, 2000 Grigorescu, Dan Dicionar cronologic -literatura american, Editura tiinific i enciclopedic, Bucureti 1977 Jackson, Ether, M Torqueville articol n vol The American Theatre Today Nemoianu, Virgil America de azi i America iniial n Secolul 20, nr. 7-8-9 /1999, Bucureti Norton, Eliot Broadway after the World War II, articol n The American Theatre Today., Barres&Noble


TABLE OF CONTENTS JUST ABOUT TENNESSEE WILLIAMS . Maria ALEXE, lecturer PhD Technical University of Civil Engineering, Bucharest TENNESSEE WILLIAMS. BIOGRAPHIC LANDMARKS AND ECHOS OF HIS WORK IN ROMANIA. Sebastian CHIRIMBU, Lecturer PhD Spiru Haret University CULTURAL DIFFERENCES AND TENSIONS IN A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE Irina-Ana DROBOT PhD candidate, Assistant Professor Department of Foreign Languages and Communication Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest PSYCHOTIC INSIDE OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS THEATRE ... Anca ALBANI, lecturer PhD National University of Arts Bucharest THE KNOTTY COMPLEXITY OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS WORK. A VIEW ON HIS POEM Mihaela IONESCU, PhD Associate Professor Dana RADU, Assistant Professor Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest A PLAYWRIGHT WRITES PROSE. TENNESSEE WILLIAMS MEMOIRS OF AN OLD CROCODILE Maria ALEXE, lecturer PhD Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest TENNESSEE WILLIAMS - BETWEEN REAL AND FANTASY ... Loredana MICLEA, lecturer PhD Cristina HERLING, assistant PhD candidate Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest THE CRITICAL RECEPTION OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS IN BULGARIA ... Kornelia SLAVOVA, PhD St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University 06









FEMALE CHARACTER PORTREYED IN TENNESSEE WILLIAMS'S DRAMA ................................................................. Ioana DUGAN, Prof. School no. 31, Bucharest THE REALISM AND ITS DRAMATIC CONSEQUENCES IN T. WILLIAMS'S A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE ............ Narcisa TIRBAN, lecturer PhD Faculty of Humanities West University "Vasile Goldi" Arad THE GLASS MENAGERIE: TOM'S FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE .......................................................................... Angela JIREGHIE, PHD Senior Lecturer Faculty of Humanities West University "Vasile Goldi" Arad A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE: SYMBOLS OF DYNAMISM AND FORCE ........................................................... Viorica BANCIU, PhD Senior lecturer The Faculty of Socio-Humanistic Sciences University of Oradea THE UNINVITED VISITOR ........................................................ Rodica Teodora BIRI, Associate Professor PhD Faculty of Humanities West University "Vasile Goldi" Arad TENNESSEE WILLIAMS EVOLUTION OF HIS FEMALE CHARACTERS Despina CHIRIMBU, lecturer Hyperion University, Bucharest Adina BARBU, PhDc, lecturer Sebastian CHIRIMBU, PhD lecturer Spiru Haret University POLITICAL ASPECTS MIRRORED IN TENNESSEE WILLIAMS WORK .. Claudia Ioana TOMA Maastricht Graduate School of Governance









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