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Summer and Smoke
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Summer and Smoke

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,472 ratings  ·  45 reviews
The play is a simple love story of a somewhat puritanical Southern girl and an unpuritanical young doctor. Each is basically attracted to the other but because of their divergent attitudes toward life, each over the course of years is driven away from the other. Not until toward the end does the doctor realize that the girl's high idealism is basically right, and while she ...more
Paperback, 82 pages
Published January 1st 1950 by Dramatists Play Service (first published 1948)
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Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareThe Crucible by Arthur Miller
Best Play Ever
77th out of 411 books — 344 voters
1984 by George OrwellAnimal Farm by George OrwellThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Stranger by Albert Camus
Best Books of the Decade: 1940's
98th out of 397 books — 459 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,311)
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Duffy Pratt
There are some moments where the themes of the play merge with the dialogue. And I don't know if I would like this or not. Even reading it, I felt like I was being hit over the head sometimes. Maybe good actors could pull this stuff off. But I think it would be really hard to do these moments.

But on the whole, the characters in this play are engaging, and they are less of a pure type than other characters. I've read some reviews here comparing Alma to Blanche, and Johnny to Stanley, but I don't
...more
Connie
Summer and Smoke is a play set in Mississippi in the early 20th Century about the conflict between the spiritual and the physical. Alma, the daughter of a minister, had to assume many of the duties in the parish as her mother became mentally ill. Alma, whose name means "soul" in Spanish, is a sensitive, virtuous woman concerned with the spiritual side of life, but sexually repressed.

Her neighbor, John, is a physician and grew up in a home containing his father's medical office. He is very sensua
...more
بسام عبد العزيز
تبدو لي أن التيمة المحببة عند تنيسي ويليامز هو الحديث عن الجنس و متعلقاته وهى بصراحة ليست بذات أهمية لدي.. بل أعتبره أكثر الموضوعات إبتذالا .. بالمعنى الأصلي للإبتذال...

هنا طوال الرواية لدينا ابنة القسيس التي تحب ابن الطبيب حبا عذريا و لكن ابن الطبيب لا يفكر سوى في الجنس و بالتالي تختلف الرغبات!
نجد أحيانا ابن الطبيب يحاول الإقتراب من ابنة القسيس ولكن براءتها تصده.. ثم لاحقا نجده يقدسها كإلهة فيقترب من أي فتاة لكنه يخجل من الاقتراب منها... في المقابل ابنة القسيس تظل تحاول ان تجذب الشاب للحب العذ
...more
Anastasia
My favorite play by Tennesse Williams. You could not find a more fragile and sad and strong at once character than Alma. (Soul). She is in love with a doctor who fancies the superficial life and Alma is a minister's daughter, very prim and proper.

One of the saddest lines in the play is: "The tables have turned, the tables have turned with a vengence."

The doctor and Alma keep missing each other, their paths crossing, but as each represents extremes, they don't catch up until it's too late. Alma c
...more
Roland
I like this play, but it falls apart near the end with John and Rosa's party and fallout. Alma's an interesting character, but the play feels off a bit. I get why John feels the way he does at the end, but I agree with Williams' assessment of it being way too melodramatic (and this is Williams saying it!) and at points cliched. It's a good play, and the film version is surprisingly good (and faithful), but the revised version Eccentricities of a Nightingale is vastly superior and makes this one ...more
Bt
Apr 15, 2014 Bt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone remotely interested in theatre
Recommended to Bt by: I found a monologue I liked from it ("Why did you come almost close enough - and no closer?")
I love this story. Out of the Tennessee Williamses that I've read or seen (Streetcar, Glass Menagerie, Eccentricities, this), this is definitely my favorite. The story is beautiful yet, in many places, heartbreaking. I sympathize with Alma so much; she is very like me in many ways. And I just love the way that (view spoiler) There's a sort of flow and a feeling of wholeness and finality to the whole ...more
Heba Elsayed
صيف و دخان "تينسى وليامز"

تبدأ المسرحية بلوحة بديعة و هو منظر لنافوره يتوسطها ملاك تنسكب من دوق فى يده المياه وتحوى طفليين متجاذبيين , فالحب قد يصيب الصغار أحيانا و لأنهم صغار فهو يشفق عليهم و لا يكشف لهم عن أوجهه المختلفة التى كثيرا منها ما يكون قاسيا. (جون) و(ألما ) جيران يذهبان لنفس المدرسة , تحب (ألما )وجه( جون) الوسيم و شقاوته بينما يحب (جون) فى( ألما) هدوءها و طيبتها معه و لانه طفل لا يجد طريقة ليلفت نظرها الا بمشاكستها و( ألما ) تحب طريقته هذه فى التعامل معها رغم ما يسببه لها من ضيق احيانا
...more
Mylissa
I generally think that Tennessee Williams is one of our greatest playwrights but for whatever reason this one didn't hold my attention, perhaps I just need to see it done rather then reading it, it was meant to be performed after all.

I just never felt like I cared about what happened to the two main characters. Alma's boring and a bit of a hysterical doormat, Johnny is pretty much a stereotypical playboy, throwing away his fathers dreams in order to waste money and philander. Alma's in love wit
...more
Bobby
Did you ever wonder "what if Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski grew up in the same town and kind of had a thing for each other?" Here's as close to an answer as you will ever get. Williams wrote both STREETCAR and SUMMER AND SMOKE at the same time, and that's abundantly clear when reading the lesser-known work. It suffered because of STREETCAR's shadow, premiering in 1948 to positive reviews but nowhere near the runaway success of its predecessor and THE GLASS MENAGERIE. By comparison to those ...more
Aaron
Not as epic of an accomplishment as Williams's Streetcar Named Desire or The Glass Menagerie, but great nonetheless. Less about the evils that humans can enact upon one another, as in Streetcar, but the grand, unintentioned cruelties and the "little mercies" given to us for comfort from them. Interestingly, the ending provides a possible segue into Streetcar's plot, though obviously only thematically, not directly. Like all of Williams' works, though, his masterful feeling for the way that peopl ...more
Scott
Excellent drama of an unlikely courtship between a young woman aged beyond her years and a free-spirited Lothario next door. The story itself is not very complex, but it is the dialogue and the characterizations that give the play a real energy and realistic heart. Williams is great at implying so much about what a character feels through small speeches and perfect lines. The drama develops more in your mind that what is spoken, a very emotional experience.

I also like how the stage directions em
...more
Jake
Aug 04, 2009 Jake rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
This is a good play. Its main problem is that it contains themes and plot structure that Mr. Williams did better in The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire .

Still Mr. Williams had a gift for dramatizing the beleagured female spirit who wanders the American landscape desperate and bereft. If you've read or seen either of the above plays, then you might enjoy this one.
Chris Tutolo
Alma is just exactly the way I imagine Carson McCullers to have been. Tennessee never lets me down.
Emily Fortuna
I found the characters' motivations completely unbelievable.
Dollanganger_
"—she doesn’t exist any more, she died last summer—"
Poly
Mar 29, 2014 Poly added it
No sé como clarificarlo... de verdad que no por que aun no lo proceso bien ._.
Jeff
I am always amazed at how Williams is able generate a poetic intensity that transforms the melodramatic into something closer to the mythic. Here, Williams starts with the building blocks of any cliched soap opera--the good woman and the rebellious man and the unrequitable love that exists between them--and ultimately leads the reader to something genuinely sad and piercing. That this remains minor Williams is only because the characters are never truly able to fully rise above the familiar type ...more
Jim Leckband
The two main characters are like oil and water, Alma being sedate and artistic while John is a gambling, alcoholic partier. So of course Alma has a crush on John. Alma is the soul while John is the body - and, yes, Williams does overtly lay it out like this in the text - it is not a subtext! I wondered what Alma could see in John and came to the conclusion that it wasn't her intellect that was leading her to him...Williams is always to be depended on for the animal attractions of his characters! ...more
Adrian
This short little nugget of a play packs quite the punch. There is hardly a page that you could not find a metaphor to debate, a seemingly innocuous yet potent symbol or dialogue between characters that a psychologist wouldn't have a field day with.
That being said....it is a little unfocused or rather that Williams was squeezing in as many literary techniques into one tiny play than focusing one one to develop.
Sometimes less is more, Williams, less is more.
Hanley
Apr 28, 2008 Hanley rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Hanley by: Ann Marie Costa
I think this is Tennessee Williams most amazing overlooked work. Of course, I'm partial because I got to be in it, but it's an exquisite, heartwrenching, thought-provoking experience that leaves you sitting still for quite a while afterwards just taking it all in. One of those "Wow. Okay." experiences, if you get my meaning. The language is heightened but real and yummy. Chock-full of incredible monologues for everyone, especially women in their 20's and 30's.
J.M. Slowik
Dec 02, 2012 J.M. Slowik rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those interested in the "soul" or its absence
Shelves: drama
Heartfelt and mysterious, this is Williams studying passion, again, with an emphasis on the tension between the secular and the spiritual. It involves an interesting shift between the two parts, going from the idealism and hope of summer to the loss and desolation of winter. It may be a little too perfectly circular, though, the structure a little too neat.

Regardless, I'd like to see it performed.
Chris Marquette
I don't read plays often, and so I now feel like I've missed out on an entire genre of classics.
This being, sadly, my first Tennessee Williams play, I was very impressed. It's far more than "a simple love story" and was very moving. It deals overtly with love, but subtly with more metaphysical themes. Really enjoyed it, and looking forward to reading more plays and more Tennessee Williams.
Elizabeth
Beautiful and thorough, nothing less to expect. The interwoven stark themes leave more and more to be discovered when working with a tight and thorough script. T. Williams can be obvious with his themes, but his characters and nevertheless real people with relationships. Alma and John grow just enough in order to pass each other when they reunite. When fire turns to smoke, there is no going back.
John
I like this one, which is not something I have been saying of ol' Tennessee of late. This is kinda depressing like some others I've been exposed to in class, but hey, no one gets torn apart by wild dogs!
I really like the key relationship too, between Alma and John. It really works, I think. And Alma is a nice creation. Similar to a lot of other Williams women, but I like her better.
Emily
I really enjoyed this play. Again, Williams delivers a powerful psychological study of two polar opposite people whose love for each other forever remains unrequited. Though there are some corny elements to this play which keep it from being the type of timeless classic "A Streetcar Named Desire" is, it is still a very good read and I highly recommend it.
Fred Daly
I saw this play thirty years ago at Haverford College, and I have always loved it. It's sort of a trial run for Streetcar--there's a delicate woman and a manly man (Williams describes him as a "Promethean figure")--but it's very moving, especially if you see Alma ("Spanish for soul") as a precursor to Blanche.
Jonathan
My second-favorite of his plays I've read (coming only after A Streetcar Named Desire), this story of love between Alma and John really stirred up some feelings. The characters are vivid and the story engaged me. The ending got to me. What a marvelous work.
My rating: 4.5/5
Katie
I liked it -
It wasn't overly sudden; ie the transition into the main plot was nice. The largest flaw would probably be the sudden changes in people - but that seems unavoidable in plays. It did seem to drag on a bit in the middle, but the ending scene was very well done.
Everett Darling
Williams gets what it means to be in love, and more importantly, when the loved doesn't or can't reciprocate to the lover. Still, amid this morose dilemma, hope is as tangible and defeat.
Spider
I've read this half a dozen times, and each time I cry as though I were reading it for the first time.

Spirit vs. flesh, and flesh wins.
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Thomas Lanier Williams III, better known by the nickname Tennessee Williams, was a major American playwright of the twentieth century who received many of the top theatrical awards for his work. He moved to New Orleans in 1939 and changed his name to "Tennessee," the state of his father's birth. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ...more
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A Streetcar Named Desire The Glass Menagerie Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Suddenly Last Summer The Night of the Iguana (Acting Edition)

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