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4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Tennessee Williams’s Notebooks, here published for the first time, presents by turns a passionate, whimsical, movingly lyrical, self-reflective, and completely uninhibited record of the life of this monumental American genius from 1936 to 1981, the year of his death. In these pages Williams (1911-1981) wrote out his most private thoughts as well as sketches of plays, poems ...more
Hardcover, 856 pages
Published January 30th 2007 by Yale University Press
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Moira Russell
Apr 15, 2012 Moira Russell marked it as to-read
Shelves: in-the-queue
I might have shrieked "PREEEEEEEEECIOUS" when I saw this the other night in a used bookstore for $20 (pristine unread copy). Juuust possibly.
Richard Jespers
Nov 17, 2014 Richard Jespers rated it it was amazing
I’ve been drawn to writers’ notebooks, journals, and letters for a long time, having read documents of John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, and others. William’s notebooks are multifaceted. It is clear that he is writing for himself; many entries have the same dreary tone that an ordinary person might use to write in a journal: physical complaints, gossip [“Gielgud too difficult to work with, somehow antipathetic” (485)], critiques of other people’s work [“Helen Hayes has flashes of gr ...more
I rented this book from the library last summer (right after my twins came home from the hospital) and needless to say I didn't get around to reading it. So this time around I was determined.

Notebooks is an amazing work to read for two reasons. One it's a collection of Williams personal journals and notebooks which span many years. Second the notebooks are further illuminated and clarified by the amazing editorial work done by Margaret Bradham Thorton. The footnotes are amazing and helpful to un
Oct 17, 2012 Kevin rated it it was amazing
This magnificent tome is a treasure trove for Williams scholars and fans. Independent scholar Thornton not only tracked down Williams's early short stories and poems but often presents photo reproductions of the original manuscripts. A talented sleuth, Thornton cross-checks journal entries with letters Williams wrote to friends, offers mini-biographies of people mentioned in the journals and has found photos of most of the cast of characters at the time they were in touch with Williams. Her dete ...more
Moira Crone
Dec 15, 2014 Moira Crone rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: artists, actors, writers, Williams admirers
Recommended to Moira by: friend
Margaret Bradham Thornton has done a masterful job here. The inner journey as well as the everyday life and times of am American genius are explored, described, illuminated, extrapolated, and held up to every scrutiny. I have never really read anything quite like this volume---i a scrapbook of a writer's life as he saw it when he lived it. Whst Bradham Thornton has done is illustrate with notes, pictures, and images of other kinds---postcards, playbills, clippings--every jotting Williams put dow ...more
Jan 03, 2008 Jonah rated it really liked it
Absolutely thrilling. A voyeuristic plunge into the inner world of the twentieth century's most brilliant dramatist. As expected, everyone I hold in high regard and cite as a major influence was a self-loathing pervert. This guy is no exception. Highly recommended.
Mar 21, 2008 minervasowl marked it as to-read
I would like to think that I am not much of a voyeur when it comes to the lives of famous people, but the idea of reading their letters and journals is too strong a temptation, which makes me fairly certain that I will require that my letters and journals be burned when I die.
Feb 12, 2008 Hillary is currently reading it
not sure when i will finish and equally unsure if i want to
Chad Morgan
Jul 24, 2012 Chad Morgan rated it it was amazing
Opening this book is like peeling the scalp off an American genius and examining their brain for 800+ glorious pages.
drew barker
Jul 13, 2008 drew barker rated it really liked it
dramaturgy for Night of the Iguana
Since I'll never get to stay up till three in the morning listening to this man talk, I'm going to do the next best thing: Read this.
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  • Magnum Magnum
  • Diary
  • The Archive
  • Diaries
  • The Government of Self and Others: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1982–1983
  • Diary of a Man in Despair
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  • One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I've Learned About Everyone's Struggle to Be Singular
  • Microscripts
  • The Living Thoughts of Kierkegaard
  • Entering the Silence: Becoming a Monk and a Writer
  • The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life
  • Labor of Love: The Story of One Man's Extraordinary Pregnancy
  • Beirut, I Love You: A Memoir
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  • Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics
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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“I believe the way to write a good play is to convince yourself it is easy to do--then go ahead and do it with ease. Don't maul, don't suffer, don't groan till the first draft is finished. A play is a pheonix and it dies a thousand deaths. Usually at night. In the morning it springs up again from its ashes and crows like a happy rooster. It is never as bad as you think, it is never as good. It is somewhere in between, and success or failure depends on which end of your emotional gamut concerning its value it approaches more closely. But it is much more likely to be good if you think it is wonderful while you are writing the first draft. An artist must believe in himself. Your belief is contagious. Others may say he is vain, but they are affected.” 22 likes
“To you, whoever you are, when I am gone — remember to be kind tonight to some lonely person. For me.” 9 likes
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