The Strand Magazine Mines Tennessee Williams Treasure

Scholar believes playwright wrote "The Eye That Saw Death" while in high school.

StrandMagazineSpring2015CoverIt should be a very good spring for The Strand Magazine. The literary quarterly’s latest issue contains a never-before-published 4,800-word story by Tennessee Williams titled “The Eye That Saw Death.”

It’s the ghoulish tale of a man who, at age 30, suffers through increasingly harrowing visions after receiving an eye transplant. From a report by the AP’s Hillel Italie:

The Strand managing editor Andrew F. Gulli, who has previously published little-known works by Graham Greene and John Steinbeck among others, found “The Eye That Saw Death” at one of the country’s leading literary archives, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Williams scholar George Crandell says the undated work is a “pretty good story” and surprisingly polished for a piece never published before. Crandell is especially impressed because he thinks Williams was likely in high school when he completed it.

“The story has a similar feel to “The Vengeance of Nitocris,” kind of a horror story that was published in Weird Tales in 1928 (when Williams was 16),” says Crandell, the associate dean of Auburn University’s graduate school and a member of the editorial board of the literary journal the Tennessee Williams Annual Review.

Smartly, The Strand is keeping all traces of the Williams treasure offline and pointing non-subscribers to a $12.95 hard copy access point.

For more Williams, check out this week’s fun tour in the Times-Picayune of a local rooming house where the writer stayed briefly when he was 27. That piece is timed to coincide with the latest edition of the Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival (March 25-29).