© 2012

Eugene O’Neill’s One-Act Plays

New Critical Perspectives

  • Editors
  • Michael Y. Bennett
  • Benjamin D. Carson

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Benjamin D. Carson
    Pages 1-15
  3. Jeff Kennedy
    Pages 17-34
  4. J. Chris Westgate
    Pages 35-50
  5. Thierry Dubost
    Pages 67-79
  6. Phillip Barnhart
    Pages 81-95
  7. Kurt Eisen
    Pages 113-128
  8. Paul D. Streufert
    Pages 128-144
  9. Thomas F. Connolly
    Pages 145-161
  10. Steven F. Bloom
    Pages 163-173
  11. Robert Combs
    Pages 175-192
  12. Zander Brietzke
    Pages 193-201
  13. Back Matter
    Pages 203-208

About this book


Eugene O'Neill, Nobel Laureate in Literature and Pulitzer Prize winner, is widely known for his full length plays. However, his one-act plays are the foundation of his work - both thematically and stylistically, they telescope his later plays. This collection aims to fill the gap by examining these texts, during what can be considered O'Neill's formative writing years, and the foundational period of American drama. A wide-ranging investigation into O'Neill's one-acts, the contributors shed light on a less-explored part of his career and assist scholars in understanding O'Neill's entire oeuvre.


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About the authors

Phillip Barnhart is a PhD candidate as a theatre director/scholar at Wayne State University and a lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Michigan Flint. Steven F. Bloom is the associate vice president for Academic Affairs at Lasell College. Zander Brietzke received his PhD in directing and dramatic criticism from Stanford University and has taught at Lehigh University, The College of Wooster, and Montclair State. Lesley Broder is an assistant professor of English at Kingsborough Community College at The City University of New York. Robert Combs is a professor of American drama and short fiction at George Washington University. Thomas F. Connolly is professor of English at Suffolk University and Visiting Professor at the University of Ostrava. Thierry Dubost is a professor at the University of Caen Basse-Normandie. Kurt Eisen is professor of English and associate dean of Arts and Sciences at Tennessee Technological University. Jeff Kennedy is an associate clinical professor of Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance at Arizona State University. Paul D. Streufert is the George F. Hamm Endowed Chair in Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Tyler. J. Chris Westgate is an assistant professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at CSU Fullerton.

Bibliographic information


"Eugene O'Neill's One-Act Plays: New Critical Perspectives is an important addition to O'Neill studies, and one that is likely to contribute . . . to the playwright's 'second birth.'" - Eugene O'Neill Review

"Bennett and Carson have assembled a team of outstanding scholars and produced a remarkable reexamination of the early one acts of Eugene O'Neill . . . Well written, researched, and excellent chapter endnotes. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers." - CHOICE

"This collection of essays succeeds admirably at its editors' aims of revealing the continuity between O'Neill's early work and the great plays of his mature years and of placing his one-acts in the Modernist and Progressive Era contexts in which his work began. In the hands of long-standing O'Neill experts like Zander Brietzke, Thierry Dubost, Kurt Eisen, and Steven Bloom, as well as knowledgeable and talented younger critics, the plays receive what is in many cases their first serious scrutiny from the theoretical perspectives of sociology, economics, queer theory, epistemology, Existentialism, and formal aesthetics. These essays show they are worthy of it." - Brenda Murphy, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of English, University of Connecticut and author of The Provincetown Players and the Culture of Modernity

"Bennett and Carson have assembled a remarkable range of essays on a tough and enigmatic subject. The first of its kind and long overdue, this volume recasts O'Neill's too often dismissed one-acts in crucial ways - as the preliminary 'stammerings' of O'Neill's late masterworks, yes, but also as invaluable renderings of the political, economic, and sociological realities of America's Progressive Era and the turbulent modern scene that followed closely at its heels." - Robert M. Dowling, author and editor of the two-volume Critical Companion to Eugene O'Neill (2009) and Eugene O'Neill and His Contemporaries: Bohemians, Radicals, Progressives, and the Avant Garde (2011)