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Eugene O’Neill

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Abstract

For the performance on 28 July 1916, the Provncetown Players in Massachusetts chose for their Wharf Theatre a one-act play by Eugene O’Neill. This play, Bound East for Cardiff, displayed materials to which the 28-year-old writer would return, and develop, for the rest of his life. The forecastle of the tramp steamer Glencairn is a tight enclosure, the home of the lower-deck seamen — lower-class or unclassed, de-nationed men existing in a floating, mobile pseudo-home among basic objects: bunks, a lamp, oilskins, seaboots. Movement in enclosure during a voyage or journey, but a stasis of lives — in fact, a sense of enclosure that edges into a trap.

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  • Performance Text
  • Greek Tragedy
  • Critical Essay
  • American Theatre
  • American Drama

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Notes

  1. Eugene O’Neill, ‘Strindberg and Our Theatre’, in Horst Frenz (ed.), American Playwrights on Drama (New York: Hill & Wang, 1965).

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  2. Roland Barthes, Critical Essays (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1972) p. 66.

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  3. W. B. Yeats, ‘From “Oedipus at Colonnus”’, in Collected Poems (London: Macmillan, 1930) p. 255.

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  4. Jack London, in Willard Thorpe, American Writing in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1960) p. 162.

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  5. Louis Sheaffer, O’Neill: Son and Artist (Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown, 1973) p. 306.

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  6. John Henry Raleigh (ed.), The Iceman Cometh: A Collection of Critical Essays (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1968) p. 20.

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  7. Mary Heaton Vorse, Time and a Town: A Provincetown Chronicle (New York: Dial Press, 1942) p. 142.

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  8. Willard Thorpe, American Writing in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1960) pp. 69, 73ff.

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  9. Eric Bentley, ‘Trying to Like O’Neill’, in In Search of Theatre (New York: Vintage Books, 1954).

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  10. Mary McCarthy, ‘Eugene O’Neill–Dry Ice’, in Sights and Spectacles, 1937–58 (London: Heinemann, 1959).

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  11. Georg Lukács, The Meaning of Contemporary Realism (London: Merlin Press, 1962) pp. 83–4.

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© 1995 Lumiere Co-operative Press Ltd

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Mottram, E. (1995). Eugene O’Neill. In: Bloom, C. (eds) American Drama. Insights. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-24086-9_3

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