Frederic Raphael

The poetry of panic

Tenn — as friends and sycophants called him — Williams was one more of those American writers whose lives have spectacular first acts, but dwindle away, more or less slowly, into repetition, sterility and self-pity eased (and exacerbated) by sex, alcohol and drugs (‘Way to go’, some might say). Williams was born in 1911, in Mississippi; if he had died 45 years later, admirers would be wondering what masterpieces he might have written, had he survived into maturity.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in