Book Reviews of Vieux Carre

Vieux Carre
Vieux Carre
Author: Tennessee Williams
ISBN-13: 9780811214605
ISBN-10: 0811214605
Publication Date: 10/2/2000
Pages: 116
Edition: 2nd
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Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Book Type: Paperback
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Born out of the journals the playwright kept at the time, Tennessee Williams's Vieux Carre is not emotion recollected in tranquility, but emotion re-created with all the pain, compassion, and wry humor of the playwright's own 1938-39 sojourn in the New Orleans French Quarter vividly intact. The drama takes its form from the shifting scenes of memory, and Williams' surrogate self invites us to focus, in turn, on the various inhabitants of his dilapidated rooming house in the Vieux Carre: the comically desperate landlady, Mrs. Wire; Jane, a properly brought-up young woman from New York making a last grab at pleasure with Tye, the vulgar but appealing strip-joint barker; two decayed gentlewomen politely starving in the garret; and the dying painter Nightingale, who tries to teach the young writer something about love--both of the body and of the heart. This is a play about the education of the artist, an education in loneliness and despair, in giving and not giving, but most of all in seeing, hearing, feeling, and learning that "writers are shameless spies," who pay dearly for their knowledge and who cannot forget.