Eugene O'Neill's Century

Centennial Views on America's Foremost Tragic Dramatist

by Richard F. Moorton, Jr.


A useful, if not indispensable, addition to O'Neill criticism. The articles are recent and deal with important topics: O'Neill's sense of tragedy, his `modernist strangeness,' his late masterpieces, film adaptations and translations of his plays, his views of America, of children, adolescents, men and women, and problems of stagecraft and theater criticism. . . . Choice

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April 1991


Pages 264
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics The Arts/Drama
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This collection commemorating the centennial of American playwright Eugene O'Neill's birth presents a spectrum of critical views unusual for its variety and breadth of scholarship. Contributors from such diverse fields as Psychology, English Literature, Germanic Studies, Philosophy, the Classics, and Theatre Arts offer fresh perspectives on and penetrating interpretations of America's one indisputable world dramatist. Following editor Richard F. Moorton, Jr.'s introduction, which considers critical problems in O'Neill scholarship, the work is organized into three sections devoted to the nature of O'Neill's dramaturgy, the cultural and autobiographical sources for his art, and the challenges of bringing that art to the stage. The essays' range encompasses literary criticism of O'Neill, psychoanalytic and feminist interpretations of the plays, O'Neill in translation, and a look at the playwright from an actor's perspective. An essay on O'Neill and film contains an invaluable appendix of television adaptations of the playwright's work.

Eugene O'Neill's Century opens with Moorton's vigorous defense of O'Neill's tragedy and locates its genius in the violation of intimate relationships, especially the family, a notion crucial to Aristotle's definition of tragedy. The six essays in the collection's first section, O'Neill's Tragic Art, analyze O'Neill's drama on its own terms. Found here are a new theory of O'Neill's conception of drama; a Russian Formalist approach to Long Day's Journey into Night; an analysis of the plays' verbal violence; a feminist psychoanalysis of Mourning Becomes Electra; a study of film adaptations of the plays; and a look at O'Neill in translation. The five essays of section two, Art and Life: Wellsprings of Genius, locate the influences that helped to shape the artist's work: both in his own life and in other works of art such as Aeschylus' Eumenides. Views of O'Neill's work from the perspective of the living theatre compose section three, O'Neill Onstage, in which the playwright's stage directions for the actor are examined in terms of the nature of his art; and the common pursuit of O'Neill scholars and theatrical practitioners is explored. Readers of O'Neill will find this presentation indispensable. It should be on the shelves of both university and public libraries.

Topic Centers

O'Neill's Tragic Art
Eugene O'Neill and the Sense of the Tragic by Richard B. Sewall
O'Neill and the Poetics of Modernist Strangeness by Spencer Golub
Causality in O'Neill's Late Masterpieces by Roger Brown
Masking Becomes Electra: O'Neill, Freud, and the Feminine by S. Georgia Nugent
Some Problems in Adapting O'Neill for Film by Burton L. Cooper
A Spokesman for America: O'Neill in Translation by Rita Terras
Art and Life: The Wellsprings of Genius
Eugene O'Neill's American Eumenides by Richard F. Moorton, Jr.
Searching for Home in O'Neill's America by Kristin Pfefferkorn
"Get My Goat": O'Neill's Attitude toward Children and Adolescents in His Life and Art by Lowell Swortzell
O'Neill's Psychology of Oppression in Men and Women by Jane Torrey
The Author as Oedipus in Mourning Becomes Electra and Long Day's Journey into Night by Richard F. Moorton, Jr.
O'Neill Onstage
O'Neill's Stage Directions and the Actor by Jeffrey Elliott Sands
Theatre and the Critics by Linda Herr
Works Cited

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