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Playwright Tennessee William’s long-lost romantic tale to run in US magazine

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 8:35pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 8:35pm

An unpublished short story by playwright Tennessee Williams, in which a college freshman recounts the details of a romance, will finally be published around 80 years after the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof author penned it.

Like the characters of Blanche DuBois from his play A Streetcar Named Desire, said to have been inspired by his mother, and Laura Wingfield from The Glass Menagerie, believed to have been modelled on his sister, the story, Crazy Night, draws upon another real woman from Williams' life - his college girlfriend. The tale will run in the spring issue of American magazine The Strand.

"It seems to have been written when Williams was rather young, probably around the 1930s," Strand managing editor Andrew Gulli said. "There is a theme of disappointment, the old 'mendacity theme' from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He could show how, beneath the cloak of respectability, his characters had horrible insecurities and dark secrets."

Set around a spring-term ritual when students would drink heavily and have sex, the story describes the narrator's romance with Anna Jean. Williams dated an Anna Jean O'Donnell while at the University of Missouri.

His narrator enjoys "the ultimate degree of intimacy" with his Anna Jean. "Both her arms were lifted toward me," Williams wrote. "I had fallen between them. And the rest of what happened … was a blind thing, almost involuntary, drawing from us both something that seemed hardly a part of ourselves."

Gulli said the story could be a "missing piece of the puzzle" on Williams' romantic life.

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