Read an excerpt from the diary

On the last pages, he recorded a rare sense of grace. The complete diaries of Tennessee Williams are published in Margaret Bradham Thornton's excellent edition, Notebooks (Yale University Press, 2007).

Sunday [September 1958] – 2:00 a.m.

A child of love – dined on the terrace with the cathedral spires lit up and a mass choir singing Catalonian folks songs on the Square below. Then love – came twice, both ways, and divinely responsive as if a benign Providence, or shall we be frank and say God, had suddenly taken cognizance and pity of my long misery this summer and given me this night as a token of forgiveness.

Quotation from a sacred book of Buddhism:

"If one conquer in battle a thousand times one thousand men, and if another conquer himself he is the greatest of conquerors."

Another: "The scent of flowers does not travel against the wind, neither that of sandalwood, but the scent of good deeds travels even against the wind."


Last two pages of the diary of Tennessee Williams (1911–1983), 1955–58. Gift of the family of Carter Burden, 1998.
By kind permission of The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. © 2006 The University of the South.