Frederick's Reviews > The Night of the Iguana

The Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams
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Apr 07, 2010

it was amazing

The edition I read (ISBN 978-0-8112-1852-8) was published in 2009 by New Directions and contains a new introduction by Doug Wright and a new essay by Kenneth Holditch. Both Holditch's essay and Wright's introduction are copyright 2009, so these are fresh perspectives. Williams's 1948 short story "The Night Of The Iguana" is included, as well as the play, of course, which was first performed (on Broadway, at least) in 1961. Williams essay on the genesis of the play is here as well.
The differences between the story and the play are radical, but the story is well worth reading for itself. The story is funny, disturbing and haunting. Williams shows an almost Conradian sense of the primal in it.
As an introduction to Williams, this particular edition of THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA is just about perfect. Doug wright's introduction is one of the few pieces of writing on Tennessee Williams about his effect on the generation which grew up when Williams the man was fading from the scene. Kenneth Holditch's essay describes the Chicago premiere of the play, with actors who, of course, knew Williams.
My guess is Williams is more loved than O'Neill and it is certain his plays are performed as frequently as O'Neill's. Williams is the quotable one.
All of Tennessee Williams's major themes are in the short story, and I would say the story lent as much to STREETCAR as it did to the stage version of IGUANA.
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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael Hi Fred, just read your review of Williams' Night of the Iguana. After all these years, I've somehow neglected him. Recently I read Streetcar and Glass Menagerie and was bowled over. I was wondering which of his plays I wanted to read next, and Night of the Iguana in on the list. Also want to read Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I agree Williams is the quotable one compared to O'Neill. Thanks for recommending the particular edition for Iguana. I'm going to check it out.


Frederick THE GLASS MENAGERIE was the first play I ever saw. It was at a local theatre here on Long Island. I was about twelve and was totally thunderstruck. (Nowadays, the world is lit by lightning.)


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