A Streetcar Named Desire, Paperback

A Streetcar Named Desire Paperback

Edited by E. Browne

Part of the Penguin Modern Classics series

4 out of 5 (5 ratings)

Description

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire is the tale of a catastrophic confrontation between fantasy and reality, embodied in the characters of Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski.

This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Arthur Miller. 'I have always depended on the kindness of strangers' Fading southern belle Blanche DuBois is adrift in the modern world.

When she arrives to stay with her sister Stella in a crowded, boisterous corner of New Orleans, her delusions of grandeur bring her into conflict with Stella's crude, brutish husband Stanley Kowalski.

Eventually their violent collision course causes Blanche's fragile sense of identity to crumble, threatening to destroy her sanity and her one chance of happiness. Tennessee Williams's steamy and shocking landmark drama, recreated as the immortal film starring Marlon Brando, is one of the most influential plays of the twentieth century. Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) was born in Columbus, Mississippi.

When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company.

He stayed there for two years, spending the evenings writing.

He received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940 for his play Battle of Angels, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955.

Among his many other plays Penguin have published The Glass Menagerie (1944), The Rose Tattoo (1951), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), The Night of the Iguana (1961), and Small Craft Warnings (1972). If you enjoyed A Streetcar Named Desire, you might like The Glass Menagerie, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Lyrical and poetic and human and heartbreaking and memorable and funny' Francis Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather 'One of the greatest American plays' Observer

Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Plays, playscripts
  • ISBN: 9780141190273

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Reviews

Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by
4
A Streetcar Named Desire is one of Tennessee Williams' best known plays and rightly so. Williams expertly creates the conflict arising from the mistrust Stanley has for Blanche and how Stanley figures into her mental collapse and eventual commitment. The rising conflict between these two characters is at the heart of this play, alongside Stella's concern for her sister; this makes the final scene all the more heart-breaking as Stella is complicit in the institutionalisation of her sister after Stanley attacked her.

That scene, which gave literature of its most famous lines, is the crowning of an excellently realised drama and study in interpersonal relations.

A great work in American literature.

Review by
3.5

ASCNDesire. A clever play in which Tennessee Williams demonstrates that sometimes, whichever door you enter from, if there are certain human elements present, everyone loses. Even the baby.

Review by
4

I'm really struggling between three and four stars for this. The dialogue is fantastic, and the atmosphere is really well evoked, but <spoiler> the implied rape ruined the whole thing for me in a lot of ways, but mostly because I feel it happened purely so something bad happened, if you know what I mean? It felt like it ruined any of the subtlety in the characterisation of either Blanche or Stanley. </spoiler> I struggled to feel any sympathy at all for Blanche up until that point, especially after it turned out that she had <spoiler>sexually exploited/assaulted one of her school pupils,</spoiler> and I felt that scene went too far in trying to reverse how I felt about her.

Review by
4.5

“Physical beauty is passing - a transitory possession - but beauty of the mind, richness of the spirit, tenderness of the heart - I have all these things - aren't taken away but grow! Increase with the years!” When Blanche DuBois comes to stay with her sister Stella and her working class husband Stanley Kowalski she seems just an aristocrat who has fallen on hard times but it soon becomes clear that it is more about the battle between imagination and reality. Blanche is clothed in fading pastel dresses bedecked with costume jewellery refusing to give her true age or be seen in full light, covering a lamp with a paper shade and declining to go outside in daylight. She has had a number of passing sexual flings including being run out of town for having an affair with a 17 year old boy as she tries to cling onto her fading youth. Stanley in contrast is rooted in the present,physically handsome with a sort of animal magnetism, preferring beer,bowling and poker with his friends. He doesn't believe in Blanche's tales and it is he who unravels her past. They constantly clash culminating in Stanley's rape of Blanche.(The rape is not actually stated but is more implied as he throws her to the bed while the background music reaches a crescendo).Stella who has always stood up for Blanche refuses to believe in the rape sending Blanche into the final spiral of madness. It is also interesting that Stanley is of Polish extraction suggesting there is a transition in America from a society based on whites supremacy to a more multi-cultural one. Blanche represents the past whilst Stanley and his friends are the future.There is another statement on American society and women's dependence on men. Blanche and Mitch are alone which draws them together despite being different but whilst Mitch loves Blanche she is more pragmatic believing that a union will cement her future. Similarly in the very first scene Stanley throws some Stella some meat much to her and her neighbour Eunice's amusement it is suggestive of both sexual dominance and the old male hunter gatherer stereotype.I can see why it is regarded by many as a modern classic and studied fairly widely in schools and colleges.Overall this was a very enjoyable especially as it is not something that I would normally pick up.

Review by
4

I'm really struggling between three and four stars for this. The dialogue is fantastic, and the atmosphere is really well evoked, but <spoiler> the implied rape ruined the whole thing for me in a lot of ways, but mostly because I feel it happened purely so something bad happened, if you know what I mean? It felt like it ruined any of the subtlety in the characterisation of either Blanche or Stanley. </spoiler> I struggled to feel any sympathy at all for Blanche up until that point, especially after it turned out that she had <spoiler>sexually exploited/assaulted one of her school pupils,</spoiler> and I felt that scene went too far in trying to reverse how I felt about her.

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