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Clothes for a Summer Hotel

Play

by Tennessee Williams

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This late play by Tennessee Williams explores the troubled relationship between F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.The late Tennessee Williams's Clothes for a Summer Hotelmade its New York debut in 1980. Here Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, often seen as symbols of the doomed youth of the jazz age, become two halves of a single creative psyche, each part alternately feeding and then devouring the other. Set in Highland Hospital near Asheville, North Carolina, where Zelda spent her last confinement, this "ghost play" begins several years after Scott's death of a heart attack in California. But the past is "still always present" in Zelda, and Williams's constant shifting of chronology and mixing of remembrance with ghostly re-enactment suggest that our real intimacy is with the shadow characters of our own minds. As Williams said in the Author's Note to the Broadway production: "Our reason for taking extraordinary license with time and place is that in an asylum and on its grounds liberties of this kind are quite prevalent: and also these liberties allow us to explore in more depth what we believe is truth of character." Williams poses the inevitable, unanswerable questions: Did Scott prevent Zelda from achieving an independent creativity? Did Zelda's demands force Scott to squander his talents and turn to alcohol? Whose betrayal––emotional, creative, sexual––destroyed the other? But he poses these questions in a new way: in the act of creation, Zelda and Scott are now aware of their eventual destruction, and the creative fire that consumed two artists combines symbolically with the fire that ended Zelda's life.

Publication Details

Publisher:
New Directions
Publication Date:
1983
Available in:
United States, Qatar

Format

  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read 1.1 MB
  • Adobe EPUB eBook 1.1 MB

Tennessee Williams (Author)

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) is the acclaimed author of many books of letters, short stories, poems, essays, and a large collection of plays, including The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Camino Real, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Orpheus De...

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