19 – Compromise


Tennessee Williams (1911-1983), author

New Directions (est. 1936), publisher

Hard Candy: A Book of Stories was first published by New Directions in 1954 and Tennessee Williams wanted to include “Kingdom of Earth” in this collection. With graphic sexual and racial tension, the story is about an incapacitated dying man who is ignored by his lustful wife and his half-brother, who is of mixed race. His publisher urged caution and omission of the scandalous story from the first edition, offering Williams a publishing compromise: a special signed and limited edition including “Kingdom of Earth,” which was also published in 1954. The special edition includes original sheets from the first edition of Hard Candy, but bears a cancel title page with a signed limitation statement on the verso, with “Kingdom of Earth” at the back of the book.

Hard Candy was also issued as a New Directions paperback in 1967 with a dedication to Paul and Jane Bowles. Both the 1954 and 1967 editions explained that the story “Hard Candy” was a later version of “The Mysteries of the Joy Rio,” both of which are represented in manuscript pages here.

All items from the Norman Unger collection

  1. The Kingdom of Earth with Hard Candy: A Book of Stories. New York: New Directions, 1954. Cancel title page tipped in and “Kingdom of Earth” included. Limited to one hundred copies, this is number 72, signed by the author
  2. The Kingdom of Earth. Privately printed. New York: New Directions, 1954. A very small number of cut and folded, but unbound, signatures of the omitted short story “Kingdom of Earth” were privately printed for circulation by Tennessee Williams
  3. Hard Candy: a Book of Stories. New Directions Paperback. New York: New Directions, 1967, c1954. This edition, dedicated to Jane and Paul Bowles, does not include “The Kingdom of Heaven”
  4. "The Mysteries of the Joy Rio” (story), undated (before 1949). Typescript (carbon) with autograph corrections, in blue “Liebling-Wood” folder, 19 pages
  5. “Hard Candy”(story), Rome, August 1949. Typescript (carbon) in blue “Liebling-Wood” folder, 19 pages