A sizzling drama of desire, avarice and deception set in the
American Deep South, Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is
published in Penguin Modern Classics. '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. Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) was born in Columbus,
Mississippi. 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 evenings writing. 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 The Glass Menagerie (1944), The Rose Tattoo (1951), Cat
on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), The Night of
the Iguana (1961), and Small Craft Warnings (1972). If you enjoyed
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, you might like Williams's The Glass
Menagerie, also published in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Tennessee
Williams will live as long as drama itself ... he is, quite simply,
indispensable' Peter Shaffer, author of Equus
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