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Tennessee Williams' Plays

Memory, Myth, and Symbol

Judith J. Thompson

This book identifies a recurrent structural pattern in Tennessee Williams’ plays that lends organic integrity to their evocations of memory, myth, and symbol. Judith J. Thompson examines the evolution of a pattern of mythic recollection and existential reenactment in seventeen Williams plays – from its most successful realization in The Glass Menagerie through The Night of the Iguana to its parody in A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur – and explores the significance of the pattern to Williams’ larger-than-life-size characters, his nostalgic ambience, and his tragicomic vision. By reference to Jungian psychology, existentialist philosophy, and Northrop Frye’s schema of literary archetypes, this critical study demonstrates how Williams’ drama imparts «mythic significance to modern secular experience.»