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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: March ::
Re: The Glass Menagerie
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0493  Friday, 2 March 2001

[1]     From:   Tim Perfect <
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        Date:   Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 08:06:07 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie

[2]     From:   Harry Hill <
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        Date:   Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 11:41:23 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie

[3]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <
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        Date:   Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 21:02:46 -0800
        Subj:   Fw: SHK 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tim Perfect <
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Date:           Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 08:06:07 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie

>Have other 20th century playwrights referred to themselves, if only in a
>roundabout way, as Shakespeare?

The only other reference (not a playwright, alas) that comes to mind for
me (probably due to the fact that I recently saw it again) is in Kevin
Costner's film "The Postman".  The evil General Nathan Bethlehem refers
to Costner's character as "Shakespeare", after learning that Costner's
character was an actor. They have a kind of silly back and forth
recitation battle of lines.

Tim Perfect

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <
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Date:           Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 11:41:23 EST
Subject: 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie

Well, my friends used to call me Beethoven because I played the piano
from an early age. Surely it is a kind of friendly banter that calls Tom
Shakespeare?

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <
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Date:           Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 21:02:46 -0800
Subject: 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie
Comment:        Fw: SHK 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie

Not only is Tom an alter ego for Williams (whose real name was Thomas),
but Amanda and Laura are very much based on Williams's own mother and
sister (his sister, I believe, was eventually committed to an asylum and
her death, apparently, left him with a strong sense of guilt). I've
taught the play in both English and acting classes, and it's fascinating
to me how drastically one's opinions of the characters changes as one
gets older. Who is the 'hero' of the play (if there is one), anyway?

Regarding the Shakespeare question, I don't think it's much of a big
deal in the play; his friend, Jim, calls him Shakespeare simply because
he writes poetry on the job, and I think that's as far as it goes. Jim
is a pretty flat character who is quite insensitive to Laura's
vulnerability; it seems to me that Williams paints him as a drudge whose
only real, deep interest is making money.

The only other reference to Shakespeare of this nature, that I can think
of, is in Anouilh's _The Cavern_, in which the Superintendent tells The
Author that Shakespeare probably had difficulty writing his plays, too
(The Author in this play is the main character, and the play is
"presented" by him as unfinished, piecemeal -- a variation on
Pirandello); the Author then complains that one "should never utter
Shakespeare's name to another playwright; it's hurtful."

This is hardly like the mentions of Shakespeare in _TGM_, however, so I
don't know that it will help you.

Paul E. Doniger
 

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