Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Suddenly, Last Summer

Suddenly, Last Summer is a one-act play by Tennessee Williams. It opened off Broadway on January 7, 1958, as part of a double bill with another of Williams’ one-acts, Something Unspoken. The presentation of the two plays was given the overall title Garden District, but Suddenly, Last Summer is now more often performed alone. The play, basically consisting of two long monologues, is considered one of Williams' starkest and most poetic works.

As with many Tennessee Williams plays, the play incorporates elements from the playwright's own life, along with elements from the life of his idol, poet Hart Crane. Williams' sister Rose was compelled to undergo a lobotomy at the instigation of their domineering mother. Williams had begun psychoanalysis shortly before writing the play. The language of the play contains many images and symbols of predation.

Sebastian's dismemberment and consumption by the objects of his sexual desire recalls the myth of Dionysus in which a sacrificial animal is torn apart and eaten raw, as in Euripides' play The Bacchae.

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