An alumnus of the GW English department, David Bruce Smith, recently donated to the faculty a copy of Tennessee, a deluxe edition of three plays by Tennessee Williams with six beautiful illustrations by Clarice Smith.
The presentation is stunning. A large and elegant box wrapped in soft black leather and imprinted with gold lettering opens to reveal three magnificent volumes: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Glass Menagerie and These Are the Stairs You Got to Watch (previously unpublished, and staged by Michael Kahn of the Shakespeare Theatre in 2004 at the Kennedy Center). These deluxe editions of the plays are folio size, and have handsewn bindings and leather covers of a quality more frequently seen at the Folger Shakespeare Library than in Foggy Bottom. A little research shows that only 1500 copies were ever made — and they sold for $3600 per copy. Tennessee was produced by hand in Florence. The volumes are printed in black with true rubrics (red titles and headings). The preface is by Michael Kahn and the introduction by David Bruce Smith … who opens the volume with a creatively imagined interview with Tennessee Williams himself. This introduction in many ways anticipates the work David Smith undertook recently in his historical fiction about Abraham Lincoln, featured previously on this blog.
The English Department is grateful for this generous gift. We invite readers of our blog to come to the main office (Rome Hall 760, 801 22nd St NW) and peruse the book. The department chair is finally at the point where he is not keeping it locked in his office and is no longer making those who wish to touch its fine black leather and luxurious pages wash their hands in water and then wipe them down with Purell.