Collected Stories (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
Gore Vidal, in his introduction to this collection of fifty short stories, says that these works constitute the true memoirs of Tennessee Williams, for, beginning with the obvious autobiographical piece that prefaces the book (“The Man in the Overstuffed Chair”), they focus on the constant obsessions of Williams’ life—the members of his family and his homosexual loves. Indeed Williams himself has said that his fictions begin with sexual desires that give rise to reveries, which then develop into stories. As such, says Vidal, these stories need no explication.
Nevertheless, it may be that Tennessee Williams’ short stories have been neglected because of just such an autobiographical bias that Vidal reflects, for too often they are mentioned only because they exhibit what many think is an unpalatable obsession with Williams’ admitted homosexuality, especially such stories as “Desire and the Black Masseur” and “Hard Candy,” which shocked middle-class America in the 1940’s with their grotesque sexuality. The only other reason Williams’ stories are given much attention is because some of them seem to presage his more respected plays; for example, “Portrait of a Girl in Glass” is later transformed into The Glass Menagerie (1945); “Three Players of a Summer Game” introduces the character of Brick in Cat on a Hot...
(The entire section is 1983 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
Booklist. LXXXII, October 1, 1985, p. 193.
Kirkus Reviews. LIII, August 15, 1985, p. 830.
Library Journal. CX, October 15, 1985, p. 104.
The New York Times Book Review. XC, November 9, 1985, p. 15.
Publishers Weekly. XC, September 6, 1985, p. 57.
Texas Monthly. XC, December 1, 1985, p. 11.
(The entire section is 33 words.)