The Caterpillar Dogs and Other Early Stories

Tennessee Williams

In his stories Williams has something rather more rare than mere genius. He has a narrative tone of voice that is totally compelling.

Gore Vidal

Seven previously unpublished stories of the Great Depression by America’s poet laureate of the lost

The Caterpillar Dogs and Other Early Stories

Fictionby Tennessee Williams

With a contribution by Tom Mitchell

These seven previously unpublished tales were penned by Thomas Lanier Williams of Missouri before he became Tennessee. His voice is unmistakable as he captures private moments in the lives of urban and rural Americans surviving the Great Depression, and the reliable idiosyncrasies and quiet dignity of Williams’s eccentrics are already present. Consider the diminutive octogenarian of “The Caterpillar Dogs,” who may have just met her match in a pair of laughing Pekinese that refuse to surrender to her demands; the retired evangelist in “Every Friday Nite Is Kiddies Nite,” who receives a message from God to move to St. Louis and go to the movies; or the distraught factory worker whose stifled artistic spirit, and just a soupçon of the macabre, propel the drama of “Stair to the Roof.”

In 1935, Williams described his short-story writing this way: “It is full of bombastic irrelevancies, the characters aren’t logically developed, and the romantic spirit . . . is almost unbearably sweet. But I was only trying to create a single, poetic effect and think I may have succeeded a little in doing that.” This volume is edited and introduced by Tom Mitchell: theater director, noted Tennessee Williams scholar, and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Is there such a thing as innocence? Apparently there was in the 1930s, and Williams reckons with it in these stories.

Buy The Caterpillar Dogs and Other Early Stories

Paperback(published Apr, 04 2023)

ISBN
9780811232326
Price US
14.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
112

Ebook

ISBN
9780811232333
Portrait of Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams

America’s playwright

In his stories Williams has something rather more rare than mere genius. He has a narrative tone of voice that is totally compelling.

Gore Vidal

Williams’s ear for dialogue, his eye for character, and his dramatic gifts are as powerful in his stories as they are in his plays.

John Berendt, The New York Times

If you love his late work, then you’ll love his early work also...Gerard Manley Hopkins, in one of his sonnets, wrote, “Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells / Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, / Crying What I do is me: for that I came.” That’s the pleasure of reading this little collection of juvenilia—to catch Tennessee in his early days, already selving.

Casey Cep, The New Yorker

The stories contain threads from which Williams would go on to weave the grand tapestry of his later work... To see the essence of who’s there writing as a young man is to feel the essence of who’s there later.

Deep South Magazine