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The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
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The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  586 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Published in 1950, his first novel was acclaimed by Gore Vidal as "Splendidly written, precise, short, complete and fine."

It is the story of a wealthy, fiftyish American widow, recently a famous stage beauty, but now "drifting." The novel opens soon after her husband's death and her retirement from the theatre, as Mrs. Stone tries to adjust to her aimless new life in Rome....more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published September 17th 1993 by New Directions (first published 1950)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 976)
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Sara
Jul 11, 2007 Sara rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who enjoyed Tennessee Williams' plays
Although Tennesee Williams is most well-known as a playwrite, this novella was the first thing I read by Williams. An aging actress has an "All About Eve-esque" crisis when she retires from the stage. She travels to Roma and deals with her loss of youth, beauty, and career. Mrs. Stone has an affair with a young Italian hottie who uses Mrs. Stone as his sugar mama. I also loved the movie version of this book starring Helen Mirren and Anne Bancroft.
A.M.
Apr 06, 2014 A.M. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: i-own
Youth and beauty are everything in the arts and when the famous stage actress, Mrs Stone, turns fifty and foolhardily tries to act as Juliet, the backlash is sufficient for her to leave the stage. She and her wealthy husband go on a holiday. Her husband has a heart attack on the plane and she is left alone. She stays in Rome and amasses a new audience of sycophants. It is about the 1950’s but it is a conservative world with a vague mention of homosexuality in a couple of places.
She is a tragic f...more
R.a.

Here is a delightful little novel(la) from Tennessee Williams—the only one he apparently penned.

“Beguiling” describes this piece. Like some of his plays, a deeper investigation of life lurks below the seeming “light” title.

Protagonist: Mrs. Stone. Stage Actress, (Retired). Socialite.
Plot: Mrs. Stone begins her “new life” of retired leisure in Rome.

Well . . . no surprise so far given Williams’ characters in other work.

Nor is there surprise in the “uncovering” of Mrs. Stone’s character as the narr...more
Roland
Before picking this up I'd only read some of his plays, but I've been on a bizarre urge to read nearly everything Williams has written, so I checked this one out. It's a short read, but I really enjoyed it and look forward to getting into his short stories once I finish tearing through his plays. The story is what you'd expect from Williams' earlier work. A faded, former theater star is in Rome and having a relationship with a gigolo who's only with her in an attempt to squeeze out as much money...more
Sabrina Messenger
Those who like nice, neatly tied little pretty packages of stories will not appreciate this book because well it's not a simplistic book. In fact, this book is pretty intense! Not a fairy tale, that's for sure. More of a cautionary tale for its times. Of course nowadays no one looks askance at May/December relationship where the woman is older, but the fact that a woman would actually pay for sex? Well, that's still a shocker even by today's standards. I found this book interesting in the way t...more
Susan
Years ago a professor remarked in class that there are no heroines in literature above the age of 30. So far I've only been able to come up with Mrs. Dalloway, and now Mrs. Stone. An interesting character study of an aging actress attempting to cope with her loss of beauty and importance, this novella must be one of the first pieces of literature to mention menopause.
Lois
There's nothing new about the cougar concept. Tennessee Williams describes the sad case of a woman who has acquired a young Italian lover 30 years her junior. The Roman world he describes is bizarre and fascinating. A decrepit and impoverished contessa acquires a stable of gigolos, splitting their financial takes with her. The gigolos move easily and shamelessly between male and female patrons.

Now that I have read a few Tennessee Williams works, I can see that he has many female characters who h...more
Paul
A wonderful story filled with aviary metaphor about an aging actress fled to Rome. Drifting toward forgetting in a cloudy chiffon of American abroad make-believe . Her apartment overlooks the Spanish steps. Below walks and wags masculine sex...
Bachyboy
Just a little book but beautifully written. Williams captures the angst of Mrs Stone as she deals with widowhood, her retirement from the stage and a much younger Italian lover. Really worth reading.
Alexander Arsov
Tennessee Williams

The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone

Vintage Classics, Paperback, 1999.

8vo. 116 pp.

First published, 1950.

Contents

A Cold Sun
Island, Island!
The Drift

========================================================

I am sorry Tennessee Williams didn't write more novellas like this one. It has a kind of perfection he seldom achieved in his short stories. The latter are often marred by verbosity, obscurity or plotlessness; and sometimes the poetry in prose doesn't fit very well. But here, for once,...more
Laura
Apr 19, 2014 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wanda, Jeannette
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
A failing star is faced with a life-style change when her rich husband suddenly dies while they are en route to Italy. She then sets off in a series of flings with gigolos found for her by an aging contessa. Each contact spirals further out of control until she becomes obsessed with one young man, who initially treats her well, but then with disdain.

A movie was made based on this book and it is available at YouTube
Cécileontheroad
Très très belle écriture. Histoire touchante, mélancolique, dérangeante parfois. Mais une vraie belle lecture.
Dollanganger_
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leniw
This was an interesting and well-written book.

It's about a very beautiful and very successful actress that loses her good looks as she is growing old. Now old, retired and widowed she tries desperately to be the leading star in her life but fails.

This is the first book of Tennessee Williams that I read and I have to say that I expected something more. Probably, this isn't his best work. I will surely read the plays he has written to form a better opinion.
Ryan
Short, easy to read, but I love the notion of "The Drift" that he stresses... I remember the summer I read this I really identified with that notion, feeling the tide ebb and flow and push me in these different directions the result of which I really had no idea. Good themes of youth vs. age and beauty: external or internal peace. Love Tennessee.
Dh Sraddhabandhu
I think Williams was not just a good playwright, but a good novelist as well. As expected, precise descripions of moods. But sometimes I wonder, if he - having been gay - really could understand women. I was disappointed that this novel was so short, the end begged for a lot more explanation and didn't seem to be very consequential.
J.Elizabeth
I've never read Tennessee Williams before, but I think I will now.
This novella was fantastic and I loved it a lot.
From the Jungian psychology to just the idea of aging, I enjoyed the characters and I loved the puzzle that was left for me to piece together.

In fact, I can't wait to read it again, just for kicks.
Everett Darling
Feb 15, 2009 Everett Darling rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Gays, aging ones.
Shelves: 2009
Morals – Having sex with salacious, impoverished, macho hunks stops time and cures loneliness. Paying for love is degrading. I'm half in agreement, and totally in love with Tennessee Williams. The unique talent who hasn't written a thing I haven't liked.
Judy
Tennessee Williams certainly catches the best words to describe the characters and the events. Drifting thru life and being king of the mountain were very fitting. How low will someone sink when they feel lost? What an ending.
Sue Studt
What can you say about Tennessee Williams. The writer's writer. But am I a writer's reader? I have to admit this small novel was a bit of work for me. But what an experience to look into his mind.
Francie Shoemaker
Wonderful, the delusions of an aging famous person who has suddenly discovered the loss of her beauty and the fact that she was never talented.
James
Kind of haunting, kind of sad, kind of sexy with a truly great ending that will leave you wondering what happened next.
Judith Happeny
Again, I saw the film and wanted to read the book. T.W. really was a master of literature....
Joselynn
I love stories of women falling from eminence and beauty. Is that depressing?
Hendo
My favorite Tennessee Williams. Highly under-appreciated. I love it.
Noel
the descriptions are good and an interesting topic
Myles Mchale
Interesting, feverish, and hallucinatory writing
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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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“His beauty was notable even in a province where the lack of it is more exceptional in a young man.” 0 likes
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