Tennessee Williams

(1911-1983 / United States)

Tennessee Williams Quotes

  • ''We have to distrust each other. It is our only defence against betrayal.''
    Tennessee Williams (1914-1983), U.S. dramatist. Marguerite Gautier, in Camino Real, Block 10 (1953).
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  • ''Bohemia has no banner. It survives by discretion.''
    Tennessee Williams (1914-1983), U.S. dramatist. Marguerite Gautier, in Camino Real, block 7. Original name Thomas Lanier Williams.
  • ''Oh, Jacques, we're used to each other, we're a pair of captive hawks caught in the same cage, and so we've grown used to each other. That's what passes for love at this dim, shadowy end of the Camino Real.''
    Tennessee Williams (1914-1983), U.S. dramatist. Marguerite Gautier to Jacques Casanova, in Camino Real, block 15.
  • ''All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness!''
    Tennessee Williams (1914-1983), U.S. dramatist. Mrs. Goforth, in The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, sc. 1 (1963).
  • ''Life is all memory except for the one present moment that goes by you so quick you hardly catch it going.''
    Tennessee Williams (1914-1983), U.S. dramatist. Mrs. Goforth, in The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, sc. 3 (1963).
  • ''It haunts me, the passage of time. I think time is a merciless thing. I think life is a process of burning oneself out and time is the fire that burns you. But I think the spirit of man is a good adversary.''
    Tennessee Williams (1914-1983), U.S. dramatist. New York Post (April 30, 1958).
  • ''I don't believe in villains or heroes, only in right or wrong ways that individuals are taken, not by choice, but by necessity or by certain still uncomprehended influences in themselves, their circumstances and their antecedents.''
    Tennessee Williams (1914-1983), U.S. dramatist. New York Post (March 17, 1957).
  • ''Don't look forward to the day you stop suffering, because when it comes you'll know you're dead.''
    Tennessee Williams (1914-1983), U.S. dramatist. Quoted in Observer (London, Jan. 26, 1958).
  • ''The world is a funny paper read backwards. And that way it isn't so funny.''
    Tennessee Williams (1914-1983), U.S. dramatist. Self-interview, in Observer (London, April 7, 1957).
  • ''You've got many refinements. I don't think you need to worry about your failure at long division. I mean, after all, you got through short division, and short division is all that a lady ought to be called on to cope with.''
    Tennessee Williams (1914-1983), U.S. dramatist. Silva to Baby Doll, in Baby Doll (film), set 43 (1957).

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Best Poem of Tennessee Williams

The Wine-Drinkers

The wine-drinkers sit on the porte cochère in the sun.
Their lack of success in love has made them torpid.
They move their fans with a motion that stirs no feather,
the glare of the sun has darkened their complexions.

Let us commend them on their conversations.
One says "oh" and the other says "indeed."

The afternoon must be prolonged forever, because the night
will be impossible for them.
They know that the bright and very delicate needles
inserted beneath the surfaces of their skins
will work after dark--at present are ...

Read the full of The Wine-Drinkers

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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