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Four Plays: Summer and Smoke / Orpheus Descending / Suddenly Last Summer / Period of Adjustment
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Four Plays: Summer and Smoke / Orpheus Descending / Suddenly Last Summer / Period of Adjustment

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  560 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
This anthology contains four of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright's most brilliant works: Summer and Smoke, Orpheus Descending, Suddenly Last Summer and Period of Adjustment. "The innocent and the damned, the lonely and the frustrated, the hopeful and the hopeless . . . (Williams) brings them all into focus with an earthy, irreverently comic passion."--Newsweek.
Paperback, 496 pages
Published August 1st 1976 by Signet (first published 1956)
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Apr 11, 2008 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like funny plays- not hilarious, but pretty funny
I picked this book because I read Period of Adjustment, not because I read this whole book, because I didn't;). Anyway, I loved Period of Adjustment. It was funny and unique and pretty much the only thing I read for AP LIT that didn't have a super depressing ending.
Mar 08, 2007 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Play-Lovers
Shelves: drama
I like plays with plots. Tennessee Williams is the master. Summer in Smoke is a must-read for tragic-romantic types. Suddenly Last Summer was made into a movie starring Elizabeth Taylor. That's quality.
Jack Hrkach
Aug 14, 2015 Jack Hrkach rated it really liked it
While I have not read this particular volume, I have read all of these plays and have seen all of them in some form or another - Suddenly was made into a rather good film, Period of Adjustment was also filmed with good actors, but was not as inherently good a play as the other three. Orpheus Descending is really difficult to stage, but on those few occasions when it is well cast (though Chance is almost impossible to cast adequately), designed and directed it can be powerful - and very dark inde ...more
Mar 22, 2007 M rated it it was amazing
I've had this paperback 4-eva. I've read and re-read each of these plays countless times. Summer and Smoke still breaks my heart.
Jan 28, 2008 Venessa rated it really liked it
I read the first three of the four plays and now we're needing to break from it (it's Cherie's and my latest book club book) so I'll concentrate on school books, except for on my commute, now. Suddenly Last Summer was definitely my favorite, just so shocking and surreal, I don't think you can trust any of the characters as narrators, and it's just brilliant. I wasn't so into....oh, Summer and Smoke I didn't feel sympathy for any of the extremely self-centered characters. And I really liked Orphe ...more
Nov 26, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009-reads
With Williams, it's always flesh and spirit, body and soul, in exquisite conflict. That persistent theme runs through this collection like a vein, with varying results. To my mind, Suddenly Last Summer is easily the best of the bunch. (Though I'll give a shout out to Summer and Smoke, which I liked better as On the Eccentricities of a Nightengale.) There's no such thing an unreadable Tennessee Williams (well, maybe The Rose Tattoo), though, so even the lesser known here are worth reading to see ...more
Anne Thessen
Mar 22, 2009 Anne Thessen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves Tennessee Williams, southern lit or drama
Recommended to Anne by: Ricky
I love Tennessee Williams, so of course, I loved this book. The only play in this book that I hadn't already seen was SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER. I still loved reading the plays even though I had already seen them either on stage (SUMMER AND SMOKE, A PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT) or in film (ORPHEUS DESCENDING). I don't have the time or the qualifications to go into a full critique of TW plays, so I'll leave it at this. They were good and worth reading.
Apr 01, 2015 Jaime rated it really liked it
Summer and Smoke is everything and I am appalled it is not discussed more.

That is all.
Nov 13, 2009 Kristy rated it liked it
Summer and Smoke was definitely my favorite of these four Tennessee Williams plays, but they each have their own charm. All four of these plays were also made into films, and I think Williams translates particularly well to film. I especially want to see Suddenly Last Summer (Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift? Sign me up!)
Jane Mcneil
Jan 21, 2014 Jane Mcneil rated it really liked it
Suddenly Last Summer was the best out of four. Orpheus Descending is worth a read, but definitely "out there" in content. The other two felt more generational, and not as relatable.
Terence Carlisle
From one of the great American playwrights, major works from a long-vanished Broadway: tales of sexual repression, adultery, castration, pederasty and cannibalism. May I see your ticket, please?
Mar 24, 2015 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed these. A great collection.
Feb 04, 2008 Cherie rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I really LOVED Suddenly Last Summer; the characters were so engaging that V and I spent many letters analyzing the characters and their motivations. Summer and Smoke…I really did not like the characters and found it hard to get engaged.
Apr 30, 2009 BurgendyA rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has or hasn't read Tennessee William's plays.
Recommended to BurgendyA by: No one. I am a huge fan of the playwriter
These plays were excellent. I loved them all. Tennessee Williams was a brillant playwriter and I truely miss him. Now one write like how he did. So I give this book 2 thumbs up, and would recommend anyone to read it. =)~
Jan 19, 2009 Elspeth rated it really liked it
Interested in the writing behind the great movies. I have to say, the movies gave me more of an emotional charge than the written plays. I suppose since they ARE plays... seeing them acted is the point.
Krista Nuss
May 13, 2009 Krista Nuss rated it really liked it
Wow! You sure aren't guaranteed a happy ending when it comes to Tennessee Williams. I enjoyed all four of these plays, but "Period of Adjustment" was my favorite, closely followed by "Summer and Smoke."
Sep 08, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it
Summer & Smoke and Orpheus Descending were probably my favorite two plays here. I wasn't fond of Suddenly Last Summer. Still, I enjoyed the collection. I can always vividly imagine the scenes in the plays.
Oct 10, 2009 Mickie rated it it was amazing
I alway enjoy Williams' plays for their many-layered themes and their ability to bring to create vivid and memorable imagery. At once horrible and beautiful.
Kate Tooley
Aug 01, 2008 Kate Tooley rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
Especially liked period of adjustment, so funny, it's amazing that reading a play can leave on so hassled and out of breath
Oct 16, 2014 Diane rated it it was amazing
Summer & Smoke, Orpheus Descending, Suddenly Last Summer, Period of Adjustment

I really enjoyed these plays.
May 15, 2007 angela added it

shocking how short the play "suddenly, last summer" is. i almost like the film more.
Apr 27, 2008 Aspen rated it liked it
Recommended to Aspen by: Professor Flora
I think 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' is still my favorite Williams play to date.
Jul 10, 2009 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
I really liked the last one, Period of Adjustment.
Four Plays by Tennessee Williams (2003)
Sep 08, 2008 J W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A snakeskin jacket and a guitar!
Jun 08, 2009 Rachelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reading
Still rocks my world.
Sep 26, 2009 Southern rated it it was amazing
Sex is a terribly dangerous enterprise, especially in foreign countries or with anyone in Mississippi.
Nov 11, 2013 Karena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oct 16, 2010 Jen added it
Megan Snyder
Megan Snyder marked it as to-read
Oct 16, 2016
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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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