View Poll Results: The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone by Tennessee Williams: Final Verdict

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  • *** Finished but no reason to skip meals.

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Thread: The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone by Tennessee Williams

  1. #1
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone by Tennessee Williams

    The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone by Tennessee Williams

    I picked up this book from a library display last week. I didn't know that Williams wrote novels (this one is a novella, I guess) as well as plays so wanted to see how it was compared to his plays.

    The story is about a middle aged actress Karen, who used to be an exceptionally beautiful woman and, following her retirement from stage and loss of her husband, settles down in Rome to avoid her usual society in the US. She has trouble adjusting her new life and coming to terms with the fact that she is neither young nor as beautiful as she used to be anymore . While acting, those were the qualities which kept her on top of her career; however, the realisation that she needs to reinvent herself as something other than a beautiful celebrity is a crucial point in her life. Meanwhile, there are young, good looking Italian men around her, who are willing to offer their company in return for material gains. Although she falls for one of them, Paolo, she keeps struggling with the fact that she now needs to 'pay' for a man's company. It is a kind of 'coming of age' story: middle aged and accepting the facts of life.

    Williams writes beautifully; poetic without being pretentious or forced or imposing. I like the few plays of his that I have read but in this book, he proves that his talent is not limited by drama. His characters are real and even more so are their struggles and pains.

    Couple of quotes from the book:
    There are intervals when a life becomes clouded over by a sense of irreality, when definition is lost, when the rational will, or what passed for it before, has given up control, or the pretence of it. At such times there is a sense of drifting, if not drowning, in a universe of turbulently rushing fluids or vapours....

    When the time comes that nobody can desire me for myself, I think I would rather not be desired at all.
    10/10 KitKats!
    No damn cat and no damn cradle.

  2. #2
    I love Tennessee Williams. What's your favourite of his plays?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Antiquarian View Post
    For me, it's "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "The Glass Menagerie." How about you, Kelby?
    I like Glass Menagerie, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Orpheus Descending, and Sweet Bird of Youth. I do really like Streetcar but I feel guilty having 5 favourites

  4. #4
    Which do you reckon is the best film adaption?

  5. #5
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
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    Looking through some old reviews, I came across Scheherezade's submission for The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone which, coincidentally, I saw the film version of quite recently. It appears that it was the only novel that T.Williams wrote and it seems a pity because, although I haven't read it, the story is very good and he might have contributed more to the genre.
    The symbolism of the omnipresent nemesis that awaits the protagonist is perhaps the least satisfactory part of the film and perhaps Williams handles it better in the novel but, that said, it is very well acted by Vivien Leigh in the title role and Warren Beatty as the hustling young gigolo who is part of a stable of males run by Lotte Lenya for the sexual delectation of middle aged women and men. For those who are interested, the whole film can be seen on YouTube.

  6. #6
    I picked this up from the library last week and have already read it through twice - I really love it! There is one thing that still puzzles me though... there's a couple of references to a photograph and a plastic surgeon's card that Karen keeps under the clock on her mantel, and the note on the back saying, "this is how I look now!" And near the very end of the book it says, "Why had she kept it? Was she thinking of that?" My question is, what WAS she thinking of? It's probably something that's staring me right in the face but I just can't get my brain around it!

  7. #7
    Skol'er of Thinkery The Comedian's Avatar
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    I just finished this book. I picked it up after stumbling across Scher's review a while back. I enjoyed it -- not as much as she, however. As for KitKats, well, I think of of it more as a 7/10.
    “Oh crap”
    -- Hellboy

  8. #8
    Registered User free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelby_lake View Post
    Which do you reckon is the best film adaption?
    I've seen two versions of A Streetcar Named Desire, the one with M. Brando and V. Leigh and the TV Movie 1995 with Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange and, I think, the best version would have been with Brando and Lange.
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