Tennessee Williams

(1911-1983 / United States)

Biography of Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams poet

Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983) was an American playwright and author of many stage classics. Along with Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller he is considered among the three foremost playwrights in 20th-century American drama.

After years of obscurity, he became suddenly famous with The Glass Menagerie (1944), closely reflecting his own unhappy family background. This heralded a string of successes, including A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), and Sweet Bird of Youth (1959). His later work attempted a new style that did not appeal to audiences, and alcohol and drug dependence further inhibited his creative output. His drama A Streetcar Named Desire is often numbered on the short list of the finest American plays of the 20th century alongside Long Day's Journey into Night and Death of a Salesman.

Much of Williams' most acclaimed work was adapted for the cinema. He also wrote short stories, poetry, essays and a volume of memoirs. In 1979, four years before his death, Williams was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

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My Little One

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

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