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Suddenly Last Summer
Tennessee Williams
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Suddenly Last Summer

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  5,538 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Kerr, in the NY Herald-Tribune, describes: "This, says Mr. Williams through the most sympathetic voice among his characters, 'is a true story about the time and the world we live in.' He has made it seem true or at least curiously and suspensefully possible by the extraordinary skill with which he has wrung detail after detail out of a young woman who has lived with horror ...more
Published December 1st 1967 by Signet (first published January 1st 1958)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Suddenly Last Summer, Tennessee Williams
Suddenly Last Summer is a one-act play by Tennessee Williams.
1936, in the Garden District of New Orleans. Mrs. Venable, an elderly widow from a prominent local family, has invited a doctor to her home. She talks nostalgically about her son Sebastian, a poet who died under mysterious circumstances in Spain the previous summer. During the course of their conversation, she offers to make a generous donation to support the doctor’s psychiatric research if he
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one act play is set at Mrs Venable's house where her deceased son, Sebastian, had a jungle-garden, including carnivorous plants. Sounds of savage beasts and birds add to the mood. Mrs Venable is trying to discredit the testimony of Catherine, her niece, about her last day with Sebastian. She is trying to persuade a doctor to perform a lobotomy on her niece so Catherine will never be able to speak about the events to Mrs Venable's high society friends in New Orleans. After the doctor gives C ...more
Duffy Pratt
Apr 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play
Williams brings the monsters out in full regalia. The chef de monstre is Violet. She's the grand dame of a New Orleans family. She had an oddly close relationship to her son, Sebastian, who was murdered in Europe the last summer. Now, she wants to cover up the entire murder and to do this she wants to give her niece a lobotomy. This might get her niece to stop telling the truth of what happened. Even if it doesn't stop her from talking, it will probably stop anyone from listening to her or takin ...more
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the strong-stomached
my ex keeps asking me what i love about this play, and i can never articulate it (so don't get your hopes up, here). perhaps it's its concern with involuntary, and incorrect, institutionalisation, or its brutal imagery; perhaps it's its meditations upon what it is to be a poet. whatever it may be, the work stirs many an emotion in me, corny as it sounds.
Irene McHugh
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classics, plays
Originally, I read this play in high school. I went through the motions of pretending that I was shocked by the ending. Really, I was just tired of reading selection after selection from that particular English teacher. I know I wasn't really paying attention to the words, but some of them must have stuck...not in my throat.

I watched the movie Playing by Heart and I understood the reference to this play, but I couldn't recall specific plot details, and it really bugged me. However, I didn't re-
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, american-south
Tennessee Williams is one American author whose work I feel we do not sufficiently appreciate. Perhaps that is because the theater in general is fading away -- an art form that, like many others, has become just ... too ... expensive. Also, even in our times, there is still lurks a stigma attached to being gay.

Suddenly Last Summer is a blinding metaphor about the absent main character -- Sebastian Venable -- who in some Latin American beach city crossed an invisible line and paid for it with hi
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maybe my new favorite Williams. Short, beautiful, tragic, haunting, and shocking.
This play scared the shit out of me....and I loved every second of it
Ryan Brady
What a disturbing, fucked up play.

I loved every second of it.

My new favorite TW play. All of the stars.
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: screen-or-plays
The plight of the poet, cruelly crushed by the harsh truth of a world or God too cruel for fancy or eccentricity, is the central tale here. While Sebastian searches for God at the four corners of the globe, provincial life in New Orleans goes on: balls and masquerades, dinners, daiquiris at 5...and none of it enough to inspire passion in Sebastian. It is only the cruelty of the world, and the cruelty of his mother and Cathy in procuring for him, that inspire his annual poems. With his own health ...more
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plays generally don't interest me, so I purposefully selected a shorter one, by one of the only playwrights that I could think of offhand. I was a bit shocked to realize that I actually was still able to get sucked into reading and finish the play in one sitting. It was disturbing and brilliant. I can't believe it came out in the 50s, I would imagine this subject material wouldn't be well received. But a movie was made? With Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn?? Kind of feel like I need to wa ...more
David Parson
Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short, yet powerful play, where the star is Tennessee Williams. Any writer looking for a terrific example of suspense needs to look no further than this macabre story. A textbook case for how to write tension, mystery, and horror.
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holy child eating mother of homo!
Mar 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just thought it was ok. I was confused on certain parts and love some
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: delightful
Suddenly, Last Summer- screenplay by Gore Vidal and Tennessee Williams ‘play

A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:

- and

Suddenly, Last Summer is an exceptional film.
It is included on the New York Times’ Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made list

And all the elements needed for a masterpiece are in place:

- A wonderful play written by the genius Tennessee Williams and a screenplay where he collaborated
Anne Kennedy
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My selection for a book with a season in the title was Suddenly Last Summer, a one-act play by Tennessee Williams. It is a gripping play in Southern gothic. Williams was perhaps at his most poetic with this play--the language is haunting as well as disturbing. The play centers around Mrs. Venable, Catherine and Dr. Sugar. Catherine was a witness to Sebastian's death, but his mother does not want the truth to be told. She has asked the doctor to see and hear Catherine's lunacy and perform a lobot ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suddenly, Last Summer is the evil twin of Glass Menagerie. Written fifteen years and countless hours of therapy later than his first play, Suddenly finds Tennessee exploring the theme: "Perhaps it was actual Mama who screwed us up so much and not Daddy like I wrote in Glass Menagerie?" It also contains some of his most lyrical writing. Having just read all of his major plays, this is unexpectedly my favorite.
Anne Wrider
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Tennessee Wiliimans' characters are always rather appalling, but it's hard not to love them. This play is a little odd, because it seems to stop in mid-arc. The characters have their own (usually selfish) objectives, and I was sorry not to see how they played out. But the language is, as always, rich, and the play is worth reading.
Simona Pierrovskaia
Questa piece di Tennessee Williams ha come centro di gravità la storia di Sebastian, poeta pretestuoso, esteta, timido, creatura convinta della cattiveria del mondo e che alla fine dal mondo viene inghiottita. La cugina Catherine, che la madre di Sebastian vorrebbe vedere lobotomizzata per non sentirla più parlare, ne descrive la parabola esistenziale, in termini asciutti e disincantati, in un tono che è assai simile a l'Etrangere di Camus. Nel complesso però la piece mi è apparsa dai contorni m ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
more t willy southern gothic dead gays plus some sweet sweet social commentary
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Or why mothers shouldn't cuddle their sons)

I wonder whether Sebastian was a lost and terribly lonely artist, trying to find beauty in the true nature of the world, or a perverse, sadistic and an entitled little snob? Her mother describes him as a poet, but she's clearly deluded and in denial of so many things : her age, her illness, the disturbing nature of her relation to her son. She's not the most reliable of witnesses. Catharine seems to treat him like a fragile spoiled child.

Apart from Cat
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"Anne Meacham, as a girl who has been the sole witness to her cousin's unbelievably shocking death, is brought into a 'planned jungle' of a New Orleans garden to confront a family that is intensely interested in having her deny the lurid tale she has told. The post-dilettante's mother is, indeed, so ruthlessly eager to suppress the facts that she had the girl incarcerated in a mental institution and she is perfectly willing, once she finishes her ritualistic five o'clock frozen daiquiri,
Patrick McCoy
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, plays
I have been a fan of Tennessee Williams since reading The Glass Menagerie in college. I've realized there are several plays that I haven't managed to get around to reading yet. So I decided to start with the one-act play Suddenly Last Summer (1958), since there is also a film version with Elizabeth Taylor, Katherine Hepburn, and Montgomery Clift that I can see after. Williams sure knows his doomed southern belles, controlling matriarchs, and tragic effeminate momma's boys. His characters are usu ...more
Jun 02, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No. That's what I say when I read this. No. This story is too much for me--it has the typical Tennessee Williams psychological tension, and in his other works I can handle it. But this one drives too far, too deep, and to me, he tries too hard. It's Williams's effort to be dark that thwarts the effectiveness of this play, I think. In his other plays, there are moments of relief that really do relieve me. But, in this one, I feel a constant barrage with no relief. There are some attempts at relie ...more
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
ناگهان تابستان گذشته (1958)، مانند برخی دیگر از تک پرده ای های ویلیامز، قصه ای ست پر گره و روان شناختی، چیزی شبیه به چارچوب "باغ وحش شیشه ای" با موضوعی متفاوت. نمایش نامه عمدتن از دو تک گویی بلند تشکیل شده؛ کاترین پس از مرگ مرموز پسرعمویش سباستین در یک سفر اروپایی، پریشان بنظر می رسد. ویولت مادر سباستین که سعی دارد هم جنس گرایی پسرش را در ابهام مرگ او بپیچاند، کاترین را به ضد و نقیض گویی در مورد سباستین و مرگ او متهم می کند، و به گونه ای تلاش دارد او را در مرگ پسرش مقصر قلمداد کند. کاترین که زیر ...more
May 15, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Drama students
Shelves: drama, borrowed
Macabre-- which I like. The plot (an 'insane' niece, Catharine is compelled to tell her aunt Violet the true story of her son Sebastian's death) meanders for a while, though, and you get the sense early on that you'll have to wait for the end of the play to arrive with its Grand Revelation. It's not a long wait, but it still makes everything in the middle feel like filler. Yet I'd like to see this one staged; it's a good example of how set design and scenery can function and relate to a play's t ...more
Robin Conley
Dec 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't read a lot of plays these days, though I have been reading more screenplays. I read this one because I am helping a friend with her English homework, but I would have read it even if I hadn't been helping her. I enjoy Tennessee Williams' work, and this play was no different. It definitely had a lot of tension as I was waiting to see how it ended and what the Doctor decided, and I loved the dialogue. It had a great forward flow to it, and it kept you wondering about the truth or what woul ...more
Annie Garvey
Nov 03, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing really happens . . . no tension. Does Cathy go back to St. Mary's or get her lobotomy? Why does George's character change at the end? I'm sure he's heard Cathy's story before. Some good quotes though:

"Most people's lives -- what are they but trails of debris, each day more debris, most debris, long, long trails of debris with nothing to clean it all up but, finally death . . ." [This quote sort of sums up Tennessee William's life.]

"We're all of us children in a vast kindergarten trying
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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
More about Tennessee Williams...
“The Venus flytrap, a devouring organism, aptly named for the goddess of love.” 43 likes
“Somebody said once or wrote, once: 'We're all of us children in a vast kindergarten trying to spell God's name with the wrong alphabet blocks!” 32 likes
More quotes…