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Spring Storm

by Tennessee Williams Author · Dan Isaac Editor

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Born into but escaped from slavery, Frederick Douglass—orator, journalist, autobiographer; revolutionary on behalf of a just America—was a towering figure, at once consummately charismatic and flawed. His Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) galvanised the antislavery movement and is one of the truly seminal works of African-American literature. In this Lincoln Prize– winning biography, William S. McFeely captures the many sides of Douglass— his boyhood on the Chesapeake; his self-education; his rebellion and rising expectations; his marriage, affairs, and intense friendships; his bitter defeat and transcendent courage—and re-creates the high drama of a turbulent era.

When Tennessee Williams read Spring Storm aloud to his playwriting class at the University of Iowa in 1938, he was met with silence and embarrassment. His professor, the renowned E. C. Mabie, remarked as he got up and dismissed the seminar, "Well, we all have to paint our nudes!" Tom's earlier comment in his journal that the play "is well-constructed, no social propaganda, and is suitable for the commercial stage" seems accurate enough in 1999, but woefully naive deep in the Depression when the play's sexual explicitness—particularly its matter-of-fact acceptance of a woman's right to her own sexuality—would have been seen as not only shocking but also politically radical. Spring Storm would later be disavowed by the author as "simply a study of Sex—a blind animal urge or force (like the regenerative force of April) gripping four lives and leading them into a tangle of cruel and ugly relations."

But the solid and deft characterizations of the four young people whose lives intertwine—the sexually alive Heavenly Critchfield, her earthy lover Dick Miles, Heavenly's wealthy but tongue-tied admirer Arthur Shannon, and the repressed librarian Hertha Nielson who loves Arthur—are archetypes of characters we will meet again and again in the Williams canon. Epic in scope, a bit melodramatic in execution, tragic in outcome, Spring Storm created a wave of excitement among theatre insiders when it was given a staged reading at The Ensemble Studio Theatre's Octoberfest '96. This edition has been prepared, with an illuminating introduction, by Dan Isaac, who initiated the Octoberfest production.

Publication Details

Publisher:
New Directions
Publication Date:
1999
Available in:
United States

Format

  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read 726.3 KB
  • Adobe EPUB eBook 726.3 KB

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...

More about Tennessee Williams

Dan Isaac (Editor)

Dan Isaac is a theater director and scholar.

More about Dan Isaac
Spring Storm
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