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Newly Published: The Metatheater of Tennessee Williams

New on our bookshelf:

The Metatheater of Tennessee Williams: Tracing the Artistic Process Through Seven Plays
Laura Michiels

Tennessee Williams’ characters set the stage for their own dramas. Blanche DuBois (A Streetcar Named Desire), arrived at her sister’s apartment with an entire trunk of costumes and props. Amanda Wingfield (The Glass Menagerie) directed her son on how to eat and tries to make her daughter act like a Southern Belle.

This book argues for the persistence of one metatheatrical strategy running throughout Williams’ entire oeuvre: each play stages the process through which it came into being–and this process consists of a variation on repetition combined with transformation. Each chapter takes a detailed reading of one play and its variation on repetition and transformation. Specific topics include reproduction in Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), mediation in Something Cloudy, Something Clear (1981), and how the playwright frequently recycled previous works of art, including his own.