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"The New Orleans Advocate" featured Dyson Professor Thomas Keith in "Letter perfect: Tennessee Williams’ correspondence at Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary fest"

03/19/2018

"The New Orleans Advocate" featured Dyson Professor Thomas Keith in "Letter perfect: Tennessee Williams’ correspondence at Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary fest"

In these days of email and text, we often forget what treasures letters are — fragile pieces of paper where we share our sweetest affections, our deepest dreams, our greatest hopes, even our moments of despair. Tennessee Williams was a prolific letter writer — by turns, witty, hilarious, insightful, concerned, loving and sharp. A new volume, “The Luck of Friendship: The Letters of Tennessee Williams and James Laughlin,” edited by Peggy L. Fox and Thomas Keith, collects Williams’ correspondence with his publisher. The book is a centerpiece of programming at this year’s Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Thursday through Sunday, March 21-25.

Fox, Williams’ last editor at New Directions, was overseeing one of his plays at the printer when Williams died. She pays tribute both to the playwright and his longtime publisher — and her longtime colleague — in this volume. Keith, a professor at Pace University in New York, is a festival favorite. The two have worked on many posthumous publications of Williams’s work.

“In ‘The Luck of Friendship’ we are able, for the first time, to follow both sides of correspondence between the playwright and a close friend, and it extends over four decades,” Keith said. “We learn for the first time about Williams’s own response to the difficulties he faced, personally and professionally, in the 1960s and ‘70s, how he came to take the injections from ‘Dr. Feelgood,’ Max Jacobson, and how he felt about pushing forward with his writing even after the confinement in Barnes Hospital.

Read the full article.