A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (hier online bestellen)
The play presents Blanche DuBois, a fading Southern belle whose pretensions to virtue and culture only
thinly mask her nymphomania and alcoholism. Her chastity and poise are an illusion she presents, to shield
others, but most of all, herself from her reality. Blanche arrives at the house of her sister Stella
Kowalski in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where the seamy, multicultural ambience is a shock to
Blanche's nerves. Explaining that her ancestral southern plantation Belle Reve (translated from French
as "Beautiful Dream") has been "lost" due to the "epic fornications" of her ancestors, Blanche is welcomed
to stay by a trepidant Stella, who fears the reaction of her husband Stanley. Blanche explains to them how
her supervisor told her she could take time off from her job as an English teacher because of her upset
In contrast to both the self-effacing Stella and the charming refinement of Blanche, Stella's husband,
Stanley Kowalski, is a force of nature; primal, rough-hewn, brutish and sensual. He dominates Stella in
every way, and she tolerates his offensive crudeness and lack of gentility largely because of her
self-deceptive love for him.
The interjection of Blanche upsets her sister and brother-in-law's system of mutual dependence. Stella
is swept aside as the attraction between the oppositely-charged Stanley and Blanche overwhelms the
household. Stanley's friend and Blanche's would-be suitor Mitch is similarly trampled along Blanche
and Stanley's collision course. Their final, inevitable confrontation-- a rape-- results in Blanche's
Blanche and Stanley, together with Arthur Miller's Willy Loman, are among the most recognizable
characters in American drama.
The reference to the streetcar called Desire - as well as being an accurate slice of New Orleans
geography - is symbolic. Blanche indeed has to travel on a streetcar route named "Desire" to reach
Stella's home in Elysian Fields, presenting an abiding theme in the play.
Extract from book:
BLANCHE: Eureka! Honey, you open the door while I take a last look at the sky. I'm looking for the
Pleiades, the Seven Sisters, but these girls are not out tonight. Oh, yes they are, there they are!
God bless them! All in a bunch going home from their little bridge party.... Y'get the door open?
Good boy! I guess you - want to go now...
MITCH: Can I - uh - kiss you - goodnight-
BLANCHE: Why do you always ask me if you may?
MITCH: I don't know whether you want me to or not.
BLANCHE: Why should you be so doubtful?
MITCH: That night when we parked by the lake and I kissed you, you -
BLANCHE: Honey, it wasn't the kiss I objected to. I liked the kiss very much. It was the other
little - familiarity - that I - felt obliged to - discourage.... I didn't resent it! Not a bit in the
world! In fact, I was somewhat flattered that you - desired me! But, honey, you know as well as I do
that a single girl, a girl alone in the world, has got to keep a firm hole on her emotions or she'll be
About the author:
Tennessee Williams' family was a very troubled one that provided inspiration for much of his writings. He
was born in Columbus, Mississippi, in the home of his maternal grandfather, the local Episcopal rector.
(The home is now the Mississippi Welcome
Center and tourist office for the city.) His father, Cornelius Williams, was a traveling shoe salesman who
became increasingly abusive as his children grew older. Dakin Williams, his brother, was often favored
over him by their father. His mother, Edwina Williams, was a descendant of a genteel southern family, and
was somewhat smothering. The family moved to Clarksdale, Mississippi, by the time Thomas was three. At
eight, he was diagnosed with diphtheria and for two years could do almost nothing, but then his mother
decided she wouldn't allow him to continue wasting his time. She encouraged him to use his imagination
and gave him a typewriter when he was thirteen.
In 1918, the family moved again to St. Louis, Missouri. In 1927, at the age of 16, Williams won third
prize (five dollars) for an essay published in Smart Set entitled, "Can a Good Wife Be a Good Sport?"
A year later, he published "The Vengeance of Nitocris" in Weird Tales.
In the early 1930s Williams attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where he was a member of the
Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. It was there that his fraternity brothers dubbed him Tennessee for his rich
southern drawl. In the late 1930s Williams transferred to Washington University for a year, eventually
taking a degree from the University of Iowa in 1938. By that time, Williams had written what would be
his first publicly performed play, Cairo, Shanghai, Bombay! at 1937 Snowden in Memphis, Tennessee.
This work was first performed in 1935 at 1780 Glenview, also in Memphis.
Williams lived in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. He first moved there in 1939 to write
for the WPA and lived first at 722 Toulouse Street, which was the setting of his 1977 play Vieux Carré
and is now a bed and breakfast. He wrote A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) while living at 632 St.
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Taschenbuch: 224 Seiten
Verlag: W W Norton & Co Ltd; Auflage: New Ed (September 2004)
Preis: € 8,49
More works from the same author:
zurück zur Übersicht