Author(s): Tennessee Williams
'Big Daddy' Pollitt, the richest cotton planter in the Mississippi Delta, is about to celebrate his sixty-fifth birthday. His two sons have returned home for the occasion: Gooper, his wife and children, Brick, an ageing football hero who has turned to drink, and his feisty wife Maggie. As the hot summer evening unfolds, the veneer of happy family life and Southern gentility gradually slips away as unpleasant truths emerge and greed, lies, jealousy and suppressed sexuality threaten to reach boiling point. Made into a film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is a masterly portrayal of family tensions and individuals trapped in prisons of their own making.
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Tennessee Williams was born in 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi, where his grandfather was the episcopal clergyman. When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evening writing. He entered the University of Iowa in 1938 and completed his course, at the same time holding a large number of part-time jobs of great diversity. He received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940 for his play Battle of Angels, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955. Among his many other plays Penguin have published Summer and Smoke (1948), The Rose Tattoo (1951), Camino Real (1953), Baby Doll (1957), Orpheus Descending (1957), Something Unspoken (1958), Suddenly Last Summer (1958), Period of Adjustment (1960), The Night of the Iguana (1961), The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore (1963), and Small Craft Warnings (1972). Tennessee Williams died in 1983.