South Atlantic Modern Language Association

Topics: Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Edward Albee, A Delicate Balance Pages: 27 (7535 words) Published: March 18, 2013
South Atlantic Modern Language Association

Structures of Feeling in Tennessee Williams's "The Night of the Iguana" and Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance" Author(s): Norma Jenckes Reviewed work(s): Source: South Atlantic Review, Vol. 70, No. 4, Tennessee Williams in/and the Canons of American Drama (Fall, 2005), pp. 4-22 Published by: South Atlantic Modern Language Association Stable URL: . Accessed: 10/02/2013 13:34 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .

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Structures The Night

of Feeling in Tennessee Williams's

of the Iguana and Edward Albee's

A. Delicate Balance
University of Cincinnati

is the only great playwright we've ever had in Albee so Tennessee Williams entered the lists famously and early America," in this appreciation of the younger playwright. He later qualified this "Edward bold assertion, we are told byMel Gussow, when he saw it in print: I am sure thatEdward Albee is even more embarrassed

than I am by themisquotation attributed tome that he is the only great playwright thatAmerica has produced. Since I know that he must feel as I do that themark of is a great one yet to be reached by any Eugene O'Neill of us late comers. (182) Albee expressed has, of course, as appreciative of Williams interviews and in some embedded allusions and also been

in many

homage in his plays. But when questioned about what playwrights manner have influenced him, he has often conveyed in his usual feisty a suspicion of the whole question of literary sources, perhaps best summarized in response to Jackson Bryer who asked the perennial question about "writers who influenced you":

a self-conscious or a Everybody, unless he's primitive damn fool, is going to be influenced by his predecessors

This content downloaded on Sun, 10 Feb 2013 13:34:02 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

South Atlantic Review and his betters. It's our responsibility to be; we don't want to reinvent the typewriter... But it is interesting to me that there were those playwrights that I was sup posed influenced by that I hadn't known. Of course, I'd been influenced by them because we had been influenced by the same people. (23) to be


Besides the public connections thatAlbee made with Williams-his tribute to Williams in plays likeWho }s Afraid ofVirginia Woolf? and his Williams's work? what are repeated avowals of respect and interest in connections between the two playwrights? the deeper literary Mel Gussow His makes a specious connection when he notes of Albee:

art is continually surprising, and nothing was more surprising than Three Tall Women, which began the sec ond act-or was it the third act- in his life ( and was fol

lowed by the mordant mysterious Play About theBaby). Three Tall Women represented the kind of later-in-life success unable that Tennessee to Williams so craved and was accomplish. Albee achieved that success after enduring a long period of critical neglect and abuse and afterwinning a battle with alcoholism. (18) distributes success and failure in a punitive and absolute fash


ion, attributing Albee's late success with his sobriety and thus blaming Williams' failure to succeed with his late...
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