Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Streetcar Named Desire” as Want to Read:
A Streetcar Named Desire
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Streetcar Named Desire

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  266,528 ratings  ·  4,227 reviews
The Pulitzer Prize and Drama Critics Circle Award winning play—reissued with an introduction by Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman and The Crucible), and Williams’ essay “The World I Live In.”

It is a very short list of 20th-century American plays that continue to have the same power and impact as when they first appeared—57 years after its Broadway premiere, Tennessee Will
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 17th 2004 by New Directions (first published 1947)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Streetcar Named Desire, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Hope Meikle Yes, but there are multiple reasons to her being taken away. It wasn't just victim blaming, she had been mentally unstable the entire show. …moreYes, but there are multiple reasons to her being taken away. It wasn't just victim blaming, she had been mentally unstable the entire show. (less)
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Define "real." ;) They all are, one way or another. Stella is a victim of her own unrealistic expectations, which she projects onto Stanley instead of…moreDefine "real." ;) They all are, one way or another. Stella is a victim of her own unrealistic expectations, which she projects onto Stanley instead of seeing who he is. (And we've all done that.) She is also a victim of Stanley's belittling, fits of rage, violence, and "he-man" user attitudes. Blanche is also a victim of her unrealistic expectations for life; like many alcoholic women I have known, she seems to be a lightening rod that attracts any problem or disaster in the vicinity; also she is victimised by Stanley because she happens to be there and is weak and he figures no one will believe her side of the story. And ol' Stan is a victim of his own ideas of what a "real man" should be.
And then there's the merry-go-round of the group dynamic. Strewth.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  266,528 ratings  ·  4,227 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Streetcar Named Desire
Oct 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“He is of medium height, about five feet eight or nine, and strongly,
compactly built. Animal joy in his being is implicit in all his movements and attitudes. Since 
earliest manhood the center of his life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it,
 not with weak indulgence, dependency, but with the power and pride of a richly feathered male
bird among hens. Branching out from this complete and satisfying center are all the auxiliary 
channels of his life, such as his heartiness ...more
It is the steamy summer in New Orleans in the late 1940s. Old war buddies have gone to their weekly bowling league after work. Meanwhile, young brides pass the time in their two flat apartment while waiting for their husbands to return. It is amidst this backdrop that begins Tennessee Williams' classic play, A Streetcar Named Desire, which still stands the test of time today and became a classic film featuring Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy. This steamy play ran the gamut of human emotions, and ...more

I did not consume this play as I was intended to. I mean, honestly, you're not supposed to read a play. Tell that to any high school English teacher ever, but still. Tennessee Williams didn't write this like "Hopefully in sixty years a girl will read this alone in her room in one sitting so she can fulfill her goal of reading a classic every month." That's not his ideal.

That being said.


A play is supposed to be acted, obviously. Reading it leads to a less emotional
Ahmad Sharabiani
A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams

A Streetcar Named Desire is a 1947 play written by American playwright Tennessee Williams that received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948.

The play opened on Broadway on December 3, 1947, and closed on December 17, 1949, in the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The Broadway production was directed by Elia Kazan and starred Jessica Tandy, Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, and Kim Hunter. The London production opened in 1949 with Bonar Colleano, Vivien Leigh, and Re
Elle (ellexamines)
Okay, first of all, may I just say: you should see the movie before you read the book. The thing about this play is that it absolutely relies on tension. And that tension is absolutely there in a quality rendition of this show. But it is not conveyed on page.

Likewise, most of Blanche’s character is in her nuance, in the subtext of each scene where she acts nervous and worried and in how she is framed and in her fear and turmoil. In a character like this, a character full of ambiguity and hu
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics-shelf, plays
4.5 stars

Tragic, raw, and suffused with striking imagery and symbolism, this play is a must-read and now one that I must also see. Williams does a tremendous job of evoking the atmosphere of New Orleans during the 1940's – the music, the heat, the people. The prose is lyrical and truly astonishing at times. I felt as if I were a participant in each and every scene.

"The sky that shows around the dim white building is a peculiarly tender blue, almost a turquoise, which invests the scene with a kin
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's the late 1940's and I could visualize the setting of the New Orleans French Quarter (love it) and hear the jazzy blues music playing thru the window as Tennessee Williams brings to life the characters of a very well-built Stanley, his better-half Stella, and her delusional, whiskey-drinking southern belle of a sister Blanche who is in town for an "extended" visit.

With two women and one hot-tempered, suspicious man in a dinky one bedroom flat, trouble starts brewing at the onset and never le

Dave Schaafsma
"I don't want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don't tell the truth, I tell what ought to be the truth"—Blanche DuBois

One of the great plays of the American theater, probably the very best Tennessee Williams play, acted first on Broadway by Marlon Brando (Stanley Kowalski), Kim Hunter (Stella Kowalski), and Blanche DuBois (Jessica Tandy), and it is riveting. I listened to a version of it with James Farentino as Stanley and Ros
Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰
“They told me to take a streetcar named Desire and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at - Elysian Fields”

There is a certain high you feel when you read a classic. It's not one that can be repeatable or interchangeable. It attaches on to you and if it's good enough. It might never leave your system.



Enter, our setting: New Orleans in the late 1940s, post second world war and the American Dream is thick in the atmosphere. Jazz and sex and booze and gamblin
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theatre
There's a sort of invisible thread from Madame Bovary to A Streetcar Named Desire, which in its route gets tied up in a hot whorehouse and wraps vainly around the cosmetics section of a pharmacy in the Southern United States before knotting at its terminus in New Orleans. I find it almost criminal how often people mistake Blanche duBois' whimsy for female frailty, for I think she is an almost unnaturally strong character; far, far moreso than her timid sister Stella. Perhaps it is because her fo ...more
“What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains.”

Do you know the feeling you get when you read book and it has everything you have ever hoped for? The perfect beginning, the perfect tension, the perfect characters, the perfect plotline, the perfect ending? This book was that level of perfection for me.

This is a despairing and lovely play that tells us that beauty is shipwrecked on the rock of the world's v
Sean Barrs
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays, 3-star-reads
A mental breakdown is a gradual process; it is something that happens slowly over a substantial period of time. With this play it was like a smack in the mouth; it came suddenly and without any form of real warning. And I find that a little odd.

Sure, something can trigger us off though we don’t necessarily go from perfectly calm and collective to meltdown mode in an instant. Blanche is clearly delusional. She has convinced herself of a life that doesn’t really exist. This is her body armour, a
Brian Yahn
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Tennessee Williams writes some brilliant dialogue and distributes it perfectly across an explosive cast of characters. All of it makes for some crazy intense scenes.

So while it's natural to imagine this would be an awesome play (which I can't wait to see some day), the experience of reading it isn't, or at least for me it wasn't. Seems like this was clearly written to be performed not read, like most plays are...
Roman Clodia
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll tell you what I want. Magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try and give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don't tell the truth. I tell what ought to be the truth. And if that is sinful, then let me be damned for it!

What a wonderfully claustrophobic and poisonous play! I've somehow never seen or read any Tennessee Williams before this, something to be corrected. This is a brutal indictment of post-war American culture which deals with domestic violence, rape (?) and emotional abuse,
Such a powerful drama! Williams presents his word-portraits so amazingly. As I noted when I read Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, he also is a master of stage direction. When reading this play, it's possible to "see" the surroundings, hear the music and voices on the street.

Stanley, Stella and Blanche come alive on the pages as Blanche drops in at her sister's home creating a simmering stew of growing emotion. The heat of a Southern summer is reflected by all that happens in the two bedroom apartment as s
Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*
PopSugar Challenge 2015 SPILLOVER (because I am a challenge failure, oops.)

Category: A Play

4 Stars

What a deliciously depressive way to commence my 2016 reading year! After hearing and reading about A Streetcar Named Desire (*glares at Losing It*, seriously authors please stop putting massive spoilers for classic works in your books. PLEASE?! I didn’t get spoiled mind because I already knew, but still!)for many a year I have finally sat down and read it. And what I have to say is this: what
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"You are an ordinary guy and your wife's sister comes to stay with you," began Mary McCarthy in the Partisan Review. "Whenever you want to go to the toilet, there she is in the bathroom, primping or having a bath. My God, you yell, can't a man pee in his own house?" This variation on the mother-in-law joke, which stunned Broadway in 1947 with the heroine's rape, swiftly became an American classic with such lines for the sex act as "getting those colored lights going."

On arrival Blanche, played b
Victor *True Unagi Master*
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays, classics, reviewed

I read this back in the late 70s and I can honestly say that, while I enjoyed it, I never fully appreciated it. It was a good, short-read for a school assignment. Nothing special.

Then I saw the film adaptation and it quickly became an all-time favorite movie. And Blanche Dubois came to life as one of the most interesting characters I have ever happened upon. Even with her vanity, manipulative behavior, the loss of the ancestral home and her lies,
"I don't want realism. I want magic!
Donna Ho Shing
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A mentally ill woman in the 1940s does not stand a chance.

My heartfelt sympathies to Blanche DuBois. Imagine marrying a closeted gay man, catching him in the act- that's how you find out by the way- and when confronted about it, he immediately proceeds to blow his brains out, literally. Also, you've lost your home and have no place live. Broken and alone you turn to your sister (the only living member of your family) for help, but, alas, she's married to Stanley Kowalski, one of the most contem
K. Elizabeth
Read for class... Plays really aren't my thing. ...more
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To write or not to write that's the question!
So basically you read the play and your head is swarmed with so many things to say, to write but you don't know if you should or you could.
There was a self interview with Tennessee Williams at the end of the book and he was talking about what he wanted to say in this book so now I'm confused because at the same time I as a woman and as a feminist find the women in this book a little, more than a little a lot misrepresented, they are weak, they can't d
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't be fooled by the beginning. This book is about Blanche, pure and simple.

We have Stella, who ought to know better and does know better, but doesn't act on that knowledge. Not for herself- she refuses to accept her husband is a violent, worthless cad- and not for her sister Blanche, who she seems to love above all else. Who would rather lock up her sister than believe what her sister said: that Stella's husband raped her. Oh, she knows perfectly well; that's clear enough. But it's just easie
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I had some idea, from the hokey friendliness of the name "Tennessee Williams," and the cute titles of his plays - "Streetcar Named Desire"! "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof!" - they sound like musicals - I had an idea that these would be friendly. Pop culture. In the great telephone game of pop culture, what I ended up hearing was Marlon Brando yelling "STELLA!", which sounded pretty goofy to me.

That was the wrong impression. This play is dark.

I love the mix of realism and poetry here. Stanley is almost
Connie G
I was even more impressed with A Streetcar Named Desire when I revisited it recently after first reading it about ten years ago. It has a wonderful combination of lyrical language and interesting characters.

Blanche DuBois comes to stay at the home of her sister Stella, and her husband Stanley Kowalski in a poor area of New Orleans. Blanche has lost both her job and the family home of Belle Reve. There is a family curse where "our improvident grandfathers and father and uncles and brothers exchan
Aug 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Becky by: Leslie
Shelves: 2008, reviewed
I enjoyed the story... It really drew me in, which is saying something considering that I picked it to read on commercial breaks during the Olympics... and I ended up reading instead of watching.

I liked this play because the characters seemed like real, flawed people. Granted, Blanche was a little over-the-top sometimes, but I imagine all southern-belle types are a little over-the-top from time to time.

Blanche was an easily identifiable character... someone who deeply regrets a thoughtless act
I did a read / watch combo with this one, which really is the best way for me to absorb plays. My 5-stars is heavily influenced by watching the recently streamed 2014 production directed by Benedict Andrews.
The entire thing left me wrung out. So now I guess I like plays ? or just Tennessee Williams, I need to find out !
Free for Audible-Plus Members.
Grab it, while it remains available!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the play’s performance at Williamstown Theatre Festival was cancelled. Instead, solely an audiobook, directed by Robert O'Hara, was produced,

Blanche DuBois is played by Audra McDonald.
Stella Kowalski is played by Carla Gugino.
Stanley Kowalski is played by Ariel Shafir.

These three are the most important of the numerous voice actors taking part in the performance. I am totally satisfied with the perfor
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I'll change my rating after we study it in class but right now it is a dwindling 2 stars.

----- Update ------
Yep, this definitely got better after studying it properly.
Jan 10, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays-modern
Not a fan, though, I should preface that by saying that I'm not really a fan of Tenessee Williams in general (what kind of name is that anyway? Who names their kid after a state?). I don't share his fascination with abusive relationships, nor do I find the tragic romance in them that he does (call me a prude, but I am offended at the idea that anyone could find redeeming romantic qualities in an abusive relationship, especially a male writer).

I find nothing redeeming in the character of Stanley,
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Death of a Salesman
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Othello
  • A Doll's House
  • The Crucible
  • Macbeth
  • Long Day's Journey into Night
  • On Blueberry Hill
  • The Duchess of Malfi
  • Feminine Gospels: Poems
  • Waiting for Godot
  • The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Hamlet
  • An Inspector Calls
  • A View from the Bridge: A Play in Two Acts
  • Mean Time
  • All My Sons
  • The Great Gatsby
See similar books…
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.

Raised in St. Louis, Missouri, after years of obscurity, at age 33 he became famous with the success of

Related Articles

Journalist and historian Craig Fehrman's new book, Author in Chief, tells the story of America’s presidents as authors—and offers a new window...
41 likes · 25 comments
“What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains.” 2543 likes
“I don't want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don't tell the truth, I tell what ought to be the truth. And it that's sinful, then let me be damned for it!” 768 likes
More quotes…