Biographical note Tennessee Williams was born in 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi, where his grandfather was the episcopal clergyman. 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 entered the University of Iowa in 1938 and completed his course, at the same time holding a large number of part-time jobs of great diversity. 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 plays Penguin have published The Glass Menagerie (1944), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Summer and Smoke (1948), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Baby Doll (1957), Suddenly Last Summer (1958) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1959). Tennessee Williams died in 1983.
Main description These three dramatic works by Tennessee Williams explore the darker side of human nature and are haunted by a sense of isolation and regret. 'Suddenly Last Summer' is the starkly told story of Catherine, who seemingly goes insane after her cousin Sebastian dies in grisly circumstances on a trip to Europe. 'The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore' is a passionate examination of a wealthy old woman as she recounts her memories in the face of death, while in 'Small Craft Warnings' a motley group of people - including a blowsy beautician, a discredited alcoholic doctor, a vulnerable waif and two gay men - sit around a seedy bar on the Californian coast, each contemplating their own desperate fate.