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Title: Desire over Protest : Sexual Politics in the Work of Tennessee Williams
Author: Hooper , Michael Spencer David
ISNI:       0000 0000 6001 8932
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2009
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Desire over Protest: Sexual Politics in the Work of Tennessee Williams examines growing claims that Tennessee Williams is fundamentally, or in large part, a political writer. Drawing on newly published texts from both ends of Williams's career, his prose fiction, essays and unpublished manuscript material, this study uniquely charts the writer's development from an apprenticeship influenced by the radical social drama of the nineteen thirties, through the commercial successes of the nineteen forties and fifties, to his most experimental late work. Unlike the books and articles that have tackled separate aspects of Williams's writing within the broad area of politics, this study is structured in chapters that combine mainstream ideology, homosexuality, race and gender. Many of the texts analysed contain both overt and indirect references to social conditions, discrimination, regimes and the ethics of America's foreign policy, but these are ultimately of secondary concern. Though Williams presented himself as a revolutionary instinctively allied to a leftist politics, his writing privileges private relationships, the power struggles that are, or emerge from, sexual encounters. The resulting vision is one of fractured communities, of individuals selfishly pursuing lines of desire that are self-destructive or, increasingly and conversely, just a mode of survival. As Robert F. Gross reminds us, Williams's work assumes a liberal individualist stance. Effectively, it deconstructs the tyranny and alienation of modern life only to admit the impossibility of refashioning something more structurally egalitarian and spiritually humane. Protest is diagnostic, not corrective; desire has sovereignty
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available