Tennessee Williams, fully Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams

Tennessee
Williams, fully Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams
1914
1983

American Playwright, Writer of Fiction

Author Quotes

Q. Do you have any positive message, in your opinion? A. Indeed I do think that I do. Q. Such as what? A. The crying, almost screaming, need of a great worldwide human effort to know ourselves and each other a great deal better, we'll enough to concede that no man has a monopoly on right or virtue any more than any man has a corner on duplicity and evil and so forth. If people, and races and nations, would start with that self manifests truth, then I think that the world could sidestep the sort of corruption which I have involuntarily chosen as the basic, allegorical theme of my plays as a whole.

The cities swept about me like dead leaves, leaves that we're brightly colored but torn away from the branches. I would have stopped, but I was pursued by something. It always came upon me unawares, taking me altogether by surprise. Perhaps it was a familiar bit of music. Perhaps it was only a piece of transparent glass.

The Venus flytrap, a devouring organism, aptly named for the goddess of love.

Truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.

What shouldn't you do if you're a young playwright? Don’t bore the audience! I mean, even if you have to resort to totally arbitrary killing on stage, or pointless gunfire, at least it'll catch their attention and keep them awake. Just keep the thing going any way you can.

Man is by instinct a lover, a hunter, a fighter, and none of those instincts are given much play at the warehouse!

Q. Why don't you write about nice people? Haven't you ever known any nice people in your life? A .My theory about nice people is so simple that I am embarrassed to say it.Q. Please say it. A. We'll, I've never met one that I couldn't love if I completely knew him and understood him, and in my work I have at least tried to arrive at knowledge and understanding. I don't believe in original sin. I don't believe in guilt. I don't believe in villains or heroes only right or wrong ways that individuals have taken, not by choice but by necessity or by certain still uncomprehended influences in themselves, their circumstances, and their antecedents. This is so simple I'm ashamed to say it, but I'm sure it's true. In fact, I would bet my life on it And that's why I don't understand why our propaganda machines are always trying to teach us, to persuade us, to hate and fear other people on the same little world that we live in. Why don't we meet these people and get to know them as I try to meet and know people in my plays?

The color, the grace and levitation, the structural pattern in motion, the quick interplay of live beings, suspended like fitful lightning in a cloud, these things are the play, not words on paper, nor thoughts and ideas of an author, those shabby things snatched off basement counters at Gimbel's.

The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.

Val: Why do you go out there?Sandra: Because dead people give such good advice. Val: What advice do they give? Sandra: Just one word: live.

When I stop working the rest of the day is posthumous. I'm only really alive when I'm writing.

In all these years, you never believed I loved you. And I did. I did so much. I did love you. I even loved your hate and your hardness.

Marriage is an economic arrangement in many ways, let's face it.

Revolution only needs good dreamers who remember their dreams.

The decline of the Western world began with the invention of the wheel.

Then what is good? The obsessive interest in human affairs, plus a certain amount of compassion and moral conviction, that first made the experience of living something that must be translated into pigment or music or bodily movement or poetry or prose or anything that's dynamic and expressive that’s what's good for you if you're at all serious in your aims. William Saroyan wrote a great play on this theme, that purity of heart is the one success worth having. 'In the time of your life live.' That time is short and it doesn't return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, loss, loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition.

Walls are built up between people a hell of a damn sight faster than--broken down.

When I write I don't aim to shock people, and I'm surprised when I do. But I don't think that anything that occurs in life should be omitted from art, though the artist should present it in a fashion that is artistic and not ugly. I set out to tell the truth. And sometimes the truth is shocking.

It is almost as if you were frantically constructing another world while the world that you live in dissolves beneath your feet, and that your survival depends on completing this construction at least one second before the old habitation collapses.

Maybe they weren't punks at all, but New York drama critics.

Say a prayer for the wild at heart kept in cages.

The flowers in the mountains have broken through the rocks.

There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity...You can smell it. It smells like death.

We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.

When it comes you'll know that you're dead.

Author Picture
First Name
Tennessee
Last Name
Williams, fully Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams
Birth Date
1914
Death Date
1983
Bio

American Playwright, Writer of Fiction