William Inge: “I’ve often wondered how people raised in great cities ever develop any knowledge of humankind.”

From The Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of William Inge, born in 1913 in Independence, Kansas. He came to be known as the “Playwright of the Midwest” and credits his understanding of human nature to growing up in a small town, “I’ve often wondered how people raised in our great cities ever develop any knowledge of humankind. People who grow up in small towns get to know each other so much more closely than they do in cities.”

While working as a drama critic for the St. Louis Star-Times Inge met Tennessee Williams, who invited him to a production of The Glass Menagerie. Inge was inspired to write a play of his own, Farther Off from Heaven, which Williams recommended for production. He wrote a string of hits — Come Back, Little Sheba, Picnic, Bus Stop, and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs — all of which would be turned into movies. He enjoyed less success and acclaim in the 1960s with the exception of his screenplay for Splendor in the Grass. He won an Oscar for it.

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