Tennessee Williams' centenary celebration this month includes a boxed-set edition of his plays
With Tennessee Williams’ 100th birthday approaching March 26 and the man himself no longer with us so we can coax him to “blow out your candles, Tennessee” (he died 28 years ago last week, age almost 72), the Library of America will honor him with a boxed set instead.
It has been selling two volumes, “Plays 1937-1955” and “Plays 1957-1980” since Williams' 90th birthday anniversary but now will box them into “The Collected Plays of Tennessee Williams,” on sale March 14 and totaling 2,053 pages. The list price is $80 — the same as for the two volumes purchased separately. It’s not a complete dramatic works package, but the 33 plays include, as a Times reviewer put it upon the initial publication, “all the plays that matter, the works of a master of his craft, with all the author's introductions, notes and pertinent essays.”
Culture Monster would only caution purchasers to be careful; drop this set on your foot, and you'll be howling like Marlon Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” except probably something other than "Stellllaaaahhhh!"
Out of more than 80 authors in the Library of America series (not counting anthologies), the only other playwrights are Eugene O’Neill, with three volumes totaling 3,203 pages, the Broadway plays of George S. Kaufman and his various collaborators (911 pages), Arthur Miller through 1961 (774 pages) and Thornton Wilder through 1943 (888 pages).
Are there other American playwrights who ought to be honored with a volume in this series?
— Mike Boehm
Photo: Tennessee Williams. Credit: A&E.