MetaTOC stay on top of your field, easily

Two Psychotic Playwrights At Work: The Late Plays Of August Strindberg And Tennessee Williams

The Psychoanalytic Quarterly

Published online on


August Strindberg and Tennessee Williams both became severely deranged during their playwriting careers. Both emerged from the most intense form of their derangement and wrote plays afterward. Strindberg, however, wrote his greatest plays after his psychosis; Williams, before his. Strindberg's psychosis spurred his creativity; that of Williams severely damaged his. This paper proposes that Strindberg mastered his psychosis and that in his late plays he dramatically symbolized psychotic processes. Williams, on the other hand, could neither access nor master his, and his late plays embody the repeated, unsymbolized acting out of his psychosis within an aesthetic context. These differences between the two playwrights become clear not through analysis of dramatic characters, but through changes that each playwright made to the dramatic medium itself.