Tennessee Williams is one of the greatest playwrights the United States
has produced. His career spanned six decades, from the 1930s to the 1980s, and, in The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar
Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, he wrote iconic works by which the American theatre is known throughout
the world. Important and innovative revivals of his great plays occur on a regular basis. Yet thirty years after
his death, newly discovered works continue to be published and produced, giving Williams's work an immediacy and relevance
to the 21st-century that is astounding for a playwright whose centenary was celebrated in 2011.
Considering the whole career,
from 1936 to 1983, Brenda Murphy analyszes 25 plays, including both the earlier and the later work as well as the best-known
plays, in the context of Williams's remarkable evolution as a writer and the plays' productions. Included in the critical
perspectives section are four newly commissioned articles, representing a range of current theoretical and critical approaches
by distinguished Williams scholars Bruce McConachie, John S. Bak, Felicia Hardison Londre, and Annette J. Saddik.