frontispiece portrait by J. Byrd Patterson
J. Byrd Patterson's portrait of Tennessee Williams from Tennessee Williams in Tangier has been licensed to the Tennessee Williams Theatre in Key West, Florida for use as their logo.
Tennessee Williams in Tangier
by Mohammed Choukri
Translated by Paul Bowles
Foreword by Gavin Lambert
Afterword by Tennessee Williams
Cover art by Eugènè Delacroix
First edition 1979
85 pages, 4½ x 6¾
Tennessee Williams in Tangier by Mohammed Choukri, translated from the Arabic by Paul Bowles, with a foreword by Gavin Lambert and an Afterword by Tennessee Williams.
Choukri's book recounts his experiences with Tennessee Williams during a visit to Tangier in the summer of 1973. This young Moroccan writer befriended America's most famous playwright and recorded in journal form all that was said and done. These conversations occur in various cafes, houses, streets and squares of Tangier, that exotic and seedy city at the littorals of the Mediterranean, crossroads to Africa.
Choukri is an accomplished observer and writer. Gavin Lambert remarks about the book which emerged from contact between such opposite personalities: “Choukri's account of Tennessee's visit . . . achieves its effect by compiling of fragments, by sympathy growing out of curiosity.”
Mohammed Choukri had published two earlier books, For Bread Alone, and Jean Genet in Tangier, both translated by Paul Bowles.
About the Book
A marvelous book.
— Christopher Isherwood
A beautifully designed book . . . a hilarious description of the right man, in the right place, at the right time.
— Kenneth Rexroth
A clear and incisive portrait of Tennessee.
— Donald Windham
Choukri first came into prominence with For Bread Alone. Resolved to become literate when he was 20, he came to the attention of Bowles, who has had literary collaborations with other Moroccan writers. The early translations were first recorded on tape from vernacular Moghrebi. Translating Choukri's scripts presented new and rather special difficulties for Bowles, who does not read classical Arabic. The translation was accomplished orally, in conversations between Bowles and Choukri, thus allowing Bowles to render exact nuances into English.
Choukri's totally fascinating account of the Williams visit is perhaps the best portrait yet to emerge from the mass of data about the playwright. Emerging also as background from the Williams reminiscence is Choukri's sharp portrait of the now-seedy North African port town, once one of the most vivid and glamorous cities in the world.
Admirers of Williams will not want to miss this small volume. It contains some insights that go even deeper than most of Williams' autobiography . . .
— Charles Beardsley
PENINSULA TIMES TRIBUNE, March 24, 1980