Life of William Inge

Ralph F. Voss, Author University Press of Kansas $27.5 (315p) ISBN 978-0-7006-0384-8
The troubled life of William Inge (1913-73), America's most celebrated playwright of the 1950s, is sympathetically examined in this biography by a fellow Kansan who teaches at the University of Alabama. In his four famous plays-- Come Back Little Sheba , Picnic (for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize), Bus Stop and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (all of which were successfully filmed)--Inge explored themes of loneliness, frustration, loss, despair and the need for love within the family, themes rooted in his own unhappiness. Despite his many friendships, Inge was an angry, lonely man who struggled with homosexuality and alcoholism until his death by suicide. After an attack by Robert Brustein in Harper's in 1958, audiences, too, rejected his plays. As his career declined, he made desperate, unsuccessful attempts to restore his equilibrium--a flirtation with the occult and a half-hearted conversion to Catholicism. In the end, ``Inge showed that rural Midwesterners could be as vulnerable to life's upsets as the most committed of city dwellers.'' Photos. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-7006-0442-5
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