The Most Beautiful Fraud: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

by Leonard Pierce

I have never been particularly fond of Tennessee Williams.  Part of this may be because I’m not his intended audience, but with very few exceptions (I enjoy A Streetcar Named Desire), I find his stuff a little, well, airy for my taste.  Reading his plays and novels, and comparing them to the films made out of them, I often get the sensation that he was a poet — his work often features striking and beautiful language, and moments of revelation that remind of some of the best modernist poetry — who realized early on that poetry wasn’t any way to make a living a the midway point of the 20th century, and so turned his essentially poetic talents to forms where they were not particularly well-used.  His one-act plays, in particular, are often simply opposing monologues, with no especial attention paid to the dramatic form — in other words, they are people standing on stage reading poetry at one another. 

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