The Metatheater of Tennessee Williams

Tracing the Artistic Process Through Seven Plays

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About the Book

Tennessee Williams created characters who set the stage for their own dramas. Examples include Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire, arriving at her sister’s apartment with an entire trunk of costumes and props, and Amanda Wingfield from The Glass Menagerie, who directs 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’s entire oeuvre. It demonstrates that Williams’s plays always stage the process through which they came into being and that this process consists of a variation on repetition combined with transformation. Each chapter revolves around a detailed, close reading of one play and analyzes its particular variation on repetition and transformation. Specific topics addressed 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.

About the Author(s)

Laura Michiels has had articles appear in International Journal of Literary Culture, Amerikastudien, Journal of Contemporary Drama in English and Collateral: Online Journal for Cross-Cultural Close Reading. In recent years, she has worked as an adjunct professor and taught courses about literary theory from the perspective of gender and sexuality, nineteenth-century literature in English as well as literary portrayals of New York City. She lives in Belgium.

Bibliographic Details

Laura Michiels
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6646-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4258-1
Imprint: McFarland