A Streetcar Named Desire is one of the most remarkable plays of our time. It created an immortal woman in the character of Blanche DuBois, the haggard and fragile southern beauty whose pathetic last grasp at happiness is cruelly destroyed. It shot Marlon Brando to fame in the role of Stanley Kowalski, a sweat-shirted barbarian, the crudely sensual brother-in-law who precipitated Blanche's tragedy.
Produced across the world, translated into many languages, and recreated as a prize-winning film, A Streetcar Named Desire has attracted one of the widest audiences in contemporary literature.
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Tennessee Williams was born in 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi, where his grandfather was the episcopal clergyman. When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evenings writing. He entered the University of Iowa in 1938 and completed his course, at the same time holding a large number of part-time jobs of great diversity. He received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940 for his play Battle of Angels, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955. Among his many other plays Penguin have published The Glass Menagerie (1944), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Summer and Smoke (1948), The Rose Tattoo (1951), Camino Real (1953), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Orpheus Descending (1957), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), Period of Adjustment (1960), The Night of the Iguana (1961), The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (1963; revised 1964) and Small Craft Warnings (1972).
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