Orpheus Descending is a love story, a plea for spiritual and artistic freedom, as well as a portrait of racism and intolerance. When charismatic drifter Valentine Xavier arrives in a Mississippi Delta town with his guitar and snakeskin jacket, he becomes a trigger for hatred and a magnet for three outcast souls: storekeeper Lady Torrance, lewd vagrant Carol Cutrere, and religious visionary Vee Talbot. Suddenly Last Summer, described by its author as a short morality play, has become one of his most torious works due in small part to the film version starring Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, and Montgomery Clift that shocked audiences in 1959. A menacing tale of madness, jealousy, and denial,the horrors in Suddenly Last Summer build to a heart-stopping conclusion. With perceptive new introductions by playwright Martin Sherman - he reframes Orpheus Descending in a political context and explores the psychology and sensationalism surrounding Suddenly Last Summer - this volume also offers Williams's related essay, The Past, the Present, and the Perhaps, and a chrology of the playwright's life and works.
Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) is the acclaimed author of many books of letters, short stories, poems, essays, and a large collection of plays, including The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Camino Real, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Orpheus Descending, The Night of the Iguana, and The Rose Tattoo. Dramatist Martin Sherman's plays have been produced in over 50 countries, and he has been nominated for two Tonys, two Oliviers, and two BAFTAS.