INTRODUCTION

John Lahr’s latest book, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, follows Lahr’s other ground-breaking theatre biographies to give intimate access to the mind of one of the greatest American playwrights of the twentieth century. Williams’s work ushered in – as Arthur Miller declared – ‘a revolution’ in American theatre. Williams put his best self – and most of his life – into his plays: The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Rose Tattoo, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Night of the Iguana among many. The plays, later made into films, defined their times and also gave defining roles to many of the century’s greatest players: Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in Street Car, Laurette Taylor as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, Maureen Stapleton and Eli Wallach as Serafina and Alvaro in The Rose Tattoo, and Geraldine Page as the Princess in Sweet Bird of Youth. This brilliantly written, deeply researched biography sheds a light on Williams’s warring family, his lobotomized sister, his guilt, his plays, his turbulent homosexual life, his misreported death, even the shenanigans of his estate. In the sensational saga of Williams’s rise and fall, Lahr captures not just the man’s tempestuous public existence but also his thrilling backstage life where the director Elia Kazan, his agent Audrey Wood, Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Bette Davis, Maureen Stapleton, Diana Barrymore, Tallulah Bankhead, Eli Wallach, and Laurette Taylor have scintillating walk-on parts. Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh is a biography of the highest order: a book about the major American playwright of his time written by the major American drama critic of his time.

‘This is a masterpiece about a genius. Only John Lahr, with his perceptions about the theater, about writers, about poetry and about people could have written this book. What a marvelous read, with brilliantly detailed research.’
Helen Mirren

‘Could this be the best theater book I’ve ever read? It just might be. Tennessee Williams had two great pieces of luck. Elia Kazan to direct his work and now John Lahr to make thrilling sense of his life’
John Guare, author of Six Degrees of SeparationHouse of Blue LeavesAtlantic City

‘John Lahr’s brilliant and seamless book, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh is a labor of the profoundest love, and it comes from the heart and mind of one of our greatest theatre writers.’
Andre Bishop, Artistic director of Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre

‘Swear-to-god, it’s the most original, insightful, thrilling biography I’ve ever read!’
Elizabeth Ashley

‘A MAGNIFICENT work. Mesmerizing, illuminating and heartbreaking.’
Andre Gregory, director, My Dinner with Andre, Vanya on 42nd Street, Alice in Wonderland.

‘Unsurpassable. An eloquent, spellbinding narrative that emerges as an instant classic.’
Ron Chernow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of George Washington: A Life; The House of Morgan; Alexander Hamilton.

Read more about the book here.

Publishers
W. W. Norton & Company (US -September 22, 2014)
Bloomsbury Publishing (UK -25 Sep 2014)

Pre-order from Barnes & Noble
Pre-order from Powell’s
Pre-order from amazon.com
Pre-order from amazon.co.uk