TIME Books

Tennessee Williams Story Published For First Time

Previously unpublished story is set on a university campus, and supposedly based on playwright's college relationship with Anna Jean O’Donnell

A previously unpublished short story from the celebrated American writer Tennessee Williams was revealed for the first time Tuesday.

The story is entitled “Crazy Night,” and is believed to have been written in the 1930s. It was unearthed and published by U.S. literary journal The Strand.

The story’s main character is Anna Jean, a girl who has an intimate meeting with the story’s narrator on a university campus before eventually leaving him for another student. Jean is thought to have been inspired by Anna Jean O’Donnell, whom Williams briefly dated while attending the University of Missouri, reports the BBC.

Although Williams previously wrote poetry about O’Donnell, she was only mentioned in passing in Williams’s memoirs and notebooks. The title is a reference to a college ritual where students binged on drink and drugs.

The editor of The Strand, Andrew Gulli, claims the short story’s publication could be the “missing piece of the puzzle” regarding a romantic encounter that was a formative experience for Williams. After several early attempts at forming heterosexual relationships, the playwright came to terms with his homosexuality by the late 1930s.

[BBC]

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