A Bunch of Body and Blood – Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer

Joanna Majewska

Abstract


The article presents Tennessee Williams’ play Suddenly Last Summer (1958) which is little-known in Poland. It was written while the playwright started to undergo a psychoanalytic therapy and is commonly considered as one of his most personal plays. The author of the article puts the play in the context of Williams family life, especially his sister’s mental disorder (which lead to unsuccessful lobotomy), his relationship with his mother and his father and his own mental health problems. An important theme of the play is cruelty, present as well in other Williams dramatic works (for example Orpheus Descending or Sweet Bird of Youth) and evident particularly in a short story Desire and the Black Masseur written shortly before famous A Streetcar Named Desire. Another theme is the sacred, often present in Williams’ work as a reference both to Christianity and ancient pagan rituals.

Keywords


american theatre; Tennessee Williams; Suddenly Last Summer; psychoanalysis; cruelty; the sacred and the profane; homoeroticism

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