Tennessee Williams on Edward Albee: Love and Love Denied

From Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog
By James Grissom (Knopf/Vintage)

"The love that I feel for Edward Albee extends far beyond his work," Tenn told me, returning to the bed and leaning against a small pile of pillows. "I think that his is the most extraordinary talent to emerge in the last thirty years. I have admired other plays, and other writers, but his work is emotionally dangerous and stunningly beautiful. I can't think of any other writer who has managed to combine the lean and the lapidary. He understands to a shocking degree the ravages both of love and of love denied. His command of the language is far beyond me. My words come from some instinctual dictionary that responds to fear and rage, but he has a full command of the language and can therefore achieve more with less effort.

"You can see that I feel it is important that his work be studied. His is work from which you can learn, but the love of which I spoke derives from the fact that Edward remains the only playwright who truly acknowledged me and my work, and that is a great honor, especially considering his greater abilities. That I should have been noticed by this man, that I should have been of some aid, means a great deal to me. While others write my obituary and perpetually recalculate my worth and my gifts, he has always been loyal in his respect, and he has waved at me across some rocky seas."

EDWARD ALBEE  1928-2016


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