- An English professor at The University
of Southern Mississippi has published a new reference book on Tennessee
Williams, the Mississippi-born playwright who wrote more than 70 plays
over his 50-year career.
Dr. Philip C. Kolin is the editor of "The Tennessee
Williams Encyclopedia," published by Greenwood Press, an internationally
famous publisher of reference books in the humanities.
Three years in the making, the book contains l60 entries
written by 56 Williams scholars from around the world. Kolin wrote
over 30 of the entries himself. The encyclopedia is the most up-to-date
work on Williams, with entries on his plays, poems, fiction, films,
essays, memoirs and paintings, as well as on the many individuals
who played a major role in his life and in his work.
"It is impossible to turn a page of this book
without learning something new about Williams or his work,"
said C. W. E. Bigsby, professor of American Studies at the University
of East Anglia. "It is an astonishing resource, invaluable
not only to those interested in Williams but also to those trying
to understand American cultural history."
Each entry on a Williams play provides an interpretation
of the plot, characters, symbols, and influences as well as a production
history including the premiere and major revivals and adaptations.
"Williams seemed to have worked with almost every
major actor and director in American theater," Kolin said.
The encyclopedia contains entries on key producers, directors (especially
Elia Kazan, who collaborated with Williams), scenographers, and
actors. Among the latter are entries on Vivien Leigh, Jessica Tandy,
Karl Malden, Maureen Stapleton, Tallulah Bankhead,
and of course Marlon Brando, who got his start in "A Streetcar
A major feature separating Kolin's Williams encyclopedia
from other reference works is the inclusion of essay-length entries
on key concepts and ideologies central to understanding Williams'
work--sexuality and gender, religion, race, politics, mythology,
plastic theatre, Southern culture and literature, etc.
Kolin also supplied a detailed chronology that lists
Williams' achievements, as well as a classified bibliography of
scholarship on the playwright and his times.
"'The Tennessee Williams Encyclopedia' is an
invaluable resource for scholars, students, actors, and directors,"
said Una Chaudhurri, chair of the drama department at New York University.
"Kolin, a Williams scholar of great distinction,
brings his critical expertise and editorial skill to this authoritative
and judicious account of the essential Tennessee Williams,"
Kolin, the first Charles W. Moorman Alumni Distinguished
Professor in the Humanities, has written more than 25 books and
nearly 200 articles, many of them on Williams and other American
playwrights including Edward Albee, David Rabe, and Adrienne Kennedy.
Kolin is also the general editor of the Routledge Shakespeare Criticism
series and with his wife, Dr. Maureen Curley, is inaugurating a
new poetry journal this year titled "Lilies: A Journal of Sacramental
"The Tennessee Williams Encyclopedia"
is available at the Southern Miss bookstore and at www.greenwood.com.