Eugene O’Neill has long been celebrated as America’s greatest playwright. This year, in the centennial of his birth, Yale University Press takes pride in bringing out an edition of O’Neill’s little-known works of the imagination and his principal critical statements, most of which have not hitherto been published. Edited and introduced by eminent O’Neill scholar Travis Bogard, the piecesmostly early worksshed valuable light on O’Neill’s artistic development.
Contained here are a four-act tragedy, The Personal Equation”; the original version of Marco Millions; a dramatic adaptation of Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”; a scenario The Reckoning,” and Bolton O’Neill; the fourth act of The Ole Davil,” which became, with some alteration of tone, Anna Christie”; and two short stories, Tomorrow” and S.O.S.” Also included are an unpublished love poem and several critical and occasional pieces, composition of Mourning Becomes Electra and The Last Will and Testament of Silverdene Emblem O’Neill,” written on behalf of his Dalmatian, Blemie. There is here no undiscovered masterwork,” says Bogard in his foreword, but much here foreshadows what was to come as Tomorrow,’ written in 1917, explores the ground on which The Iceman Cometh was to be created. In some of the writing, O’Neill is struggling to learn his craft: the scenario of The Reckoning,’ for example, shows him in the process of forming a lifelong habit of detailing a play in a long narrative account. In the poem to Jane Caldwell and the memorial for Blemie, glimpses of a gentle, private man can be caught. In the critical pieces, O’Neill attempts an uncharacteristic but interesting articulation of his theatrical principles. In all the fugitive works gathered here, the O’Neill voice sounds clear. It remains worth hearing.”
An important work about an unknown O’Neill that will reveal this fascinating personality to the general public.” Paul Shyre
Travis Bogard, emeritus professor of dramatic art at the University of California, Berkeley, has edited many works and papers of O’Neill, including, with Jackson R. Bryer, The Theatre We Worked For”: The Letters of Eugene O’Neill to Kenneth Macgowan.