Tennessee Williams' Mississippi
"Some mystery should be left in the revelation of character in a play, just as a great deal of mystery is always left in the revelation of character in life, even in one's own character to himself."
Thomas Lanier Williams was born in Columbus on March 26, 1911. The world would later come to know him as playwright Tennessee Williams. He said of his Mississippi roots, “Home is where you hang your childhood, and Mississippi to me is the beauty spot of creation, a dark, wide, spacious land that you can breathe in.”
Visit his birthplace, his grandfather Edward Dakin's Episcopal Rectory, on Main Street which is now the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Almost more than any other Mississippi author, Tennessee Williams, in particular, has one of the strongest connections with the Mississippi Delta, a region that made a powerful impression on the young Tom. Theatre critic John Quinn once said, “His gift was an ear for the poetic quality of the English language set to the lilt of the Delta dialect.” Mentions of Southern food infused his works with Delta flavor to complete the reflection of Southern life, an example of which can be found in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof when Big Mama pointed out, “Did you all notice the supper [Big Daddy] put away? Why he ate like a hawss! Why, that man – ate a huge piece of cawn-bread with molasses on it! Helped himself twice to hoppin’ John.”
Visit Uncle Henry’s Place, a Historic Inn and Restaurant that sits on picturesque Moon Lake, immortalized in fiction as “Moon Lake Casino” by both Eudora Welty and Tennessee Williams.
Nearby Clarksdale was the place where a young Tom spent fond days. His ties to the Cutrer Mansion and St. George's Episocopal Church are still celebrated today with the annual Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival.
Tennessee Williams Reading List
A Streetcare Named Desire
The Glass Menagerie
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
The Rose Tattoo
The Night of the Iguana
Southern Literary Trail
"If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it."