Eugene O’Neill Remembered offers new views into the playwright’s life by capturing the direct memories of those who were close to him through interviews, memoirs, and other recollections. These sixty-two remembrances create an unprecedented image of O’Neill.
Known principally as the author of some of the most significant plays in the American dramatic canon and as one of America’s Nobel Laureates in literature, O’Neill rarely gave interviews and offered few details about himself. As a consequence, his life has long been shrouded in myth. He also abetted some of the misconceptions about his youth by, for example, advocating the story that he was expelled from Princeton for throwing a rock through Woodrow Wilson’s window or by exaggerating the amount of time he had spent at sea. The legend of the hard-drinking, tormented playwright with a grim view of life was further reinforced when Long Day’s Journey into Night was produced in 1956, three years after his death instead of the twenty-five years he had insisted on.
The portrayal of O’Neill as a tragic figure has been solidified in a number of biographies. The purpose of this collection, however, is to present O’Neill as others saw him and described him in their first-person accounts. In the course of these reminiscences, many of the vast and various narrators conflict with and contradict each other. Unlike other accounts of O’Neill’s life, much of the focus is on impressions instead of facts. The result is a revealing composite portrait of a key figure in twentieth-century American literary history.
ABOUT THE EDITORS
Brenda Murphy is a professor emerita of English at the University of Connecticut and the author of numerous books on twentieth-century American literature and drama, including The Provincetown Players and the Culture of Modernity and The Theatre of Tennessee Williams.
George Monteiro is a professor emeritus of English and an adjunct professor emeritus of Portuguese and Brazilian studies at Brown University. His books include Stephen Crane’s Blue Badge of Courage and Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil and After: A Poetic Career Transformed.
PRAISE FOR EUGENE O’NEILL REMEMBERED
“Eugene O’Neill Remembered is a cabinet of curiosity for diverse, fragmentary evocations left by a noisy writer and a difficult man who self-consciously made literary and theatrical history in the first part of the twentieth century.”
—William Davies King, author of Another Part of a Long Story: Literary Traces of Eugene O’Neill and Agnes Boulton
“Murphy and Monteiro’s exemplary compilation will be greeted with cheers from those of us interested in gaining new access to the playwright’s elusive personality and the nature of his closest associations.”
—Robert M. Dowling, author of Eugene O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts
American Writers Remembered
Jackson R. Bryer, series editor
400 pages / 17 B&W figures
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1931-1 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9064-8 Ebook