Eugene O'Neill

Eugene O'Neill

Overview
Eugene Gladstone O'Neill (October 16, 1888 – November 27, 1953) was an American playwright and Nobel laureate in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

. His poetically titled plays were among the first to introduce into American drama techniques of realism earlier associated with Russian playwright Anton Chekhov
Anton Chekhov
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian physician, dramatist and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a dramatist produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics...

, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

, and Swedish playwright August Strindberg
August Strindberg
Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography,...

. His plays were among the first to include speeches in American vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 and involve characters on the fringes of society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

, where they struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations, but ultimately slide into disillusionment and despair.
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Quotations

It's queer they'd be allowin' the sick ones to read books when I'll bet it's the same lazy readin' in the house bought the half of them down with the consumption itself.

Carmody: Act 1, Scene 2

Irish as a Paddy's pig.

Carmody: Act 1, Scene 2

Supposing I was to tell you that it's just Beauty that's calling me, the beauty of the far off and unknown, the mystery and spell of the East which lures me in the books I've read, the need of the freedom of great wide spaces, the joy of wandering on and on — in quest of the secret which is hidden over there, beyond the horizon?

Robert: Act 1, Scene 1

You mustn't feel sorry for me. Don't you see I'm happy at last — free — free! — freed from the farm — free to wander on and on — eternally! Look! Isn't it beautiful beyond the hills? I can hear the old voices calling me to come — And this time I'm going! It isn't the end. It's a free beginning — the start of my voyage! I've won to my trip — the right of release — beyond the horizon! Oh, you ought to be glad — glad — for my sake!

Robert: Act 3, Scene 2

We'd be making sail in the dawn, with a fair breeze, singing a chanty song wid no care to it. And astern the land would be sinking low and dying out, but we'd give it no heed but a laugh, and never look behind. For the day that was, was enough, for we was free men — and I'm thinking 'tis only slaves do be giving heed to the day that's gone or the day to come — until they're old like me.

Paddy: Scene 1

Is it one wid this you'd be, Yank — black smoke from the funnels smudging the sea, smudging the decks — the bloody engines pounding and throbbing and shaking — wid divil a sight of sun or a breath of clean air — choking our lungs wid coal dust — breaking our backs and hearts in the hell of the stokehole — feeding the bloody furnace — feeding our lives along wid the coal, I'm thinking — caged in by steel from a sight of the sky like bloody apes in the Zoo!

Paddy: Scene 1

Or rather, I inherited the acquired trait of the by-product, wealth, but none of the energy, none of the strength of the steel that made it. I am sired by gold and damned by it, as they say at the race track — damned in more ways than one.

Mildred: Scene 2

You seem to be going in for sincerity today. It isn't becoming to you, really — except as an obvious pose. Be as artificial as you are, I advise. There's a sort of sincerity in that, you know. And, after all, you must confess you like that better.

Aunt: Scene 2

We have electrocuted your God. Don't be a fool.

Act 2, Scene 1

Don't cry. The damned don't cry.

Page 253.
Encyclopedia
Eugene Gladstone O'Neill (October 16, 1888 – November 27, 1953) was an American playwright and Nobel laureate in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

. His poetically titled plays were among the first to introduce into American drama techniques of realism earlier associated with Russian playwright Anton Chekhov
Anton Chekhov
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian physician, dramatist and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a dramatist produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics...

, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

, and Swedish playwright August Strindberg
August Strindberg
Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography,...

. His plays were among the first to include speeches in American vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 and involve characters on the fringes of society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

, where they struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations, but ultimately slide into disillusionment and despair. O'Neill wrote only one well-known comedy (Ah, Wilderness!
Ah, Wilderness!
Ah, Wilderness! is a comedy by American playwright Eugene O'Neill that premiered on Broadway at the Guild Theatre on 2 October 1933.-Plot summary:...

). Nearly all of his other plays involve some degree of tragedy
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

 and personal pessimism
Pessimism
Pessimism, from the Latin word pessimus , is a state of mind in which one perceives life negatively. Value judgments may vary dramatically between individuals, even when judgments of fact are undisputed. The most common example of this phenomenon is the "Is the glass half empty or half full?"...

.

Early years


O'Neill was born in a Broadway
Broadway (New York City)
Broadway is a prominent avenue in New York City, United States, which runs through the full length of the borough of Manhattan and continues northward through the Bronx borough before terminating in Westchester County, New York. It is the oldest north–south main thoroughfare in the city, dating to...

 hotel room in Longacre Square
Longacre Square
Longacre Square in New York City, the predecessor of Times Square, Manhattan, formed a nexus of important roads to the north of the island at the intersection of 42nd Street, Bloomingdale Road and Seventh Avenue, today in Midtown Manhattan....

 (now Times Square
Times Square
Times Square is a major commercial intersection in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets...

), in the Barrett Hotel. The site is now a Starbucks
Starbucks
Starbucks Corporation is an international coffee and coffeehouse chain based in Seattle, Washington. Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with 17,009 stores in 55 countries, including over 11,000 in the United States, over 1,000 in Canada, over 700 in the United Kingdom, and...

 (1500 Broadway, Northeast corner of 43rd & Broadway); a commemorative plaque is posted on the outside wall with the inscription: "Eugene O'Neill, October 16, 1888 ~ November 27, 1953 America's greatest playwright was born on this site then called Barrett Hotel, Presented by Circle in the Square."

He was the son of Irish immigrant actor James O'Neill
James O'Neill (actor)
James O'Neill was an actor and the father of the American playwright Eugene O'Neill....

 and Mary Ellen Quinlan
Ella O'Neill
Ella O'Neill was the mother of playwright Eugene O'Neill and wife of actor James O'Neill....

. Because of his father's profession, O'Neill was sent to a Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 boarding school where he found his only solace in books.
O'Neill spent his summers in New London, Connecticut
New London, Connecticut
New London is a seaport city and a port of entry on the northeast coast of the United States.It is located at the mouth of the Thames River in New London County, southeastern Connecticut....

. After being suspended from Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, he spent several years at sea, during which he suffered from depression
Clinical depression
Major depressive disorder is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities...

 and alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

. O'Neill's parents and elder brother Jamie (who drank himself to death at the age of 45) died within three years of one another, not long after he had begun to make his mark in the theater. Despite his depression he had a deep love for the sea, and it became a prominent theme in many of his plays, several of which are set onboard ships like the ones that he worked on.

Career


After his experience in 1912–13 at a sanatorium
Sanatorium
A sanatorium is a medical facility for long-term illness, most typically associated with treatment of tuberculosis before antibiotics...

 where he was recovering from tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

, he decided to devote himself full-time to writing plays (the events immediately prior to going to the sanatorium are dramatized in his masterpiece, Long Day's Journey into Night
Long Day's Journey Into Night
Long Day's Journey Into Night is a 1956 drama in four acts written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. The play is widely considered to be his masterwork...

). O'Neill had previously been employed by the New London Telegraph, writing poetry as well as reporting.

During the 1910s O'Neill was a regular on the Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village, , , , .in New York often simply called "the Village", is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families...

 literary scene, where he also befriended many radicals, most notably Communist Labor Party
Communist Labor Party
The Communist Labor Party of America was one of the organizational predecessors of the Communist Party USA. The group was established at the end of August 1919 following a three-way split of the Socialist Party of America...

 founder John Reed. O'Neill also had a brief romantic relationship with Reed's wife, writer Louise Bryant
Louise Bryant
Louise Bryant was an American journalist and writer. She was best known for her Marxist and anarchist beliefs and her essays on radical political and feminist themes. Bryant published articles in several radical left journals during her life, including Alexander Berkman's The Blast...

. O'Neill was portrayed by Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
John Joseph "Jack" Nicholson is an American actor, film director, producer and writer. He is renowned for his often dark portrayals of neurotic characters. Nicholson has been nominated for an Academy Award twelve times, and has won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice: for One Flew Over the...

 in the 1981 film Reds about the life of John Reed.

His involvement with the Provincetown Players
Provincetown Players
The Provincetown Players was an amateur group of writers and artists who, at the early part of the 20th Century, wanted to see a change in American theatre and created a company committed to producing new plays by exclusively American playwrights...

 began in mid-1916. O'Neill is said to have arrived for the summer in Provincetown with "a trunk full of plays." Susan Glaspell
Susan Glaspell
Susan Keating Glaspell was an American Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, actress, director, novelist, biographer and poet. She was a founding member of the Provincetown Players, one of the most important collaboratives in the development of modern drama in the United States...

 describes what was probably the first ever reading of Bound East for Cardiff which took place in the living room of Glaspell and her husband George Cram Cook
George Cram Cook
George Cram Cook or Jig Cook was an American novelist, poet, and playwright. He was a lover of ancient Greece, an idealist who dreamt of spiritual communism....

's home on Commercial Street, adjacent to the wharf (pictured) that was used by the Players for their theater. Glaspell writes in The Road to the Temple
The Road to the Temple
The Road to the Temple by Susan Glaspell is the biography of late husband, George Cram Cook. It was originally published by Frederick A. Stokes, who also published several of Glaspell's novels. ,...

, "So Gene took Bound East for Cardiff out of his trunk, and Freddie Burt read it to us, Gene staying out in the dining-room while reading went on. He was not left alone in the dining-room when the reading had finished." The Provincetown Players performed many of O'Neill's early works in their theaters both in Provincetown and on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village, , , , .in New York often simply called "the Village", is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families...

. Some of these early plays began downtown and then moved to Broadway.

O'Neill's first published play, Beyond the Horizon
Beyond the Horizon (play)
Beyond the Horizon is a 1920 play written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. It was O'Neill's first full-length work, and the winner of the 1920 Pulitzer Prize for Drama....

, opened on Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 in 1920 to great acclaim, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Pulitzer Prize for Drama
The Pulitzer Prize for Drama was first awarded in 1918.From 1918 to 2006, the Drama Prize was unlike the majority of the other Pulitzer Prizes: during these years, the eligibility period for the drama prize ran from March 2 to March 1, to reflect the Broadway 'season' rather than the calendar year...

. His first major hit was The Emperor Jones
The Emperor Jones
The Emperor Jones is a 1920 play by American dramatist Eugene O'Neill which tells the tale of Brutus Jones, an African-American man who kills a man, goes to prison, escapes to a Caribbean island, and sets himself up as emperor...

, which ran on Broadway in 1920 and obliquely commented on the U.S. occupation of Haiti that was a topic of debate in that year's presidential election. His best-known plays include Anna Christie
Anna Christie
Anna Christie is a play in four acts by Eugene O'Neill. It made its Broadway debut at the Vanderbilt Theatre on November 2, 1921. O'Neill received the 1922 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his work.-Plot summary:...

(Pulitzer Prize 1922), Desire Under the Elms
Desire Under the Elms
Desire Under the Elms is a play by Eugene O'Neill, published in 1924, and is now considered an American classic. Along with Mourning Becomes Electra, it represents one of O'Neill's attempts to place plot elements and themes of Greek tragedy in a rural New England setting. It is essentially a...

(1924), Strange Interlude
Strange Interlude
Strange Interlude is an experimental play by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. O'Neill finished the play in 1923, but it was not produced on Broadway until 1928, when it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Lynn Fontanne originated the central role of Nina Leeds on Broadway...

(Pulitzer Prize 1928), Mourning Becomes Electra
Mourning Becomes Electra
Mourning Becomes Electra is a play cycle written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. The play premiered on Broadway at the Guild Theatre on 26 October 1931 where it ran for 150 performances before closing in March 1932...

(1931), and his only well-known comedy, Ah, Wilderness!
Ah, Wilderness!
Ah, Wilderness! is a comedy by American playwright Eugene O'Neill that premiered on Broadway at the Guild Theatre on 2 October 1933.-Plot summary:...

, a wistful re-imagining of his youth as he wished it had been. In 1936 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. After a ten-year pause, O'Neill's now-renowned play The Iceman Cometh
The Iceman Cometh
The Iceman Cometh is a play written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill in 1939. First published in 1940 the play premiered on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on 9 October 1946, directed by Eddie Dowling where it ran for 136 performances to close on 15 March 1947.-Characters:* Night Hawk-...

was produced in 1946. The following year's A Moon for the Misbegotten
A Moon for the Misbegotten
A Moon for the Misbegotten is a play by Eugene O'Neill. The play can be thought of as a sequel to the autobiographical Long Day's Journey into Night...

failed, and did not gain recognition as being among his best works until decades later.

He was also part of the modern movement to revive the classical heroic mask
Mask
A mask is an article normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance or entertainment. Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial and practical purposes...

 from ancient Greek theatre
Theatre of Ancient Greece
The theatre of Ancient Greece, or ancient Greek drama, is a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c. 220 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was...

 and Japanese Noh
Noh
, or - derived from the Sino-Japanese word for "skill" or "talent" - is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century. Many characters are masked, with men playing male and female roles. Traditionally, a Noh "performance day" lasts all day and...

 theatre in some of his plays, such as The Great God Brown
The Great God Brown
The Great God Brown is a 1926 play by Eugene O'Neill. It is noted for its use of masks.-Plot:Dion Anthony and his friend William A. "Billy" Brown are sons of business partners. Both love Margaret, but she falls in love with Dion when he is presented behind a cruel and cynical mask, even though he...

and Lazarus Laughed
Lazarus Laughed
Lazarus Laughed is a play by Eugene O'Neill written in 1925. Its sub-title was A Play for Imaginative Theatre. It is a long theo-philosophical meditation with more than a hundred actors making up a masked chorus. In theatrical format, Lazarus Laughed appears to be a Greek tragedy. But the...

.


O'Neill was very interested in the Faust
Faust
Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend; a highly successful scholar, but also dissatisfied with his life, and so makes a deal with the devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Faust's tale is the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical...

 theme, especially in the 1920s.

Family life


O'Neill was married to Kathleen Jenkins from October 2, 1909 to 1912, during which time they had one son, Eugene O'Neill, Jr.
Eugene O'Neill, Jr.
Eugene Gladstone O'Neill, Jr. was an American professor of Greek literature.O'Neill was son of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O'Neill and the elder O'Neill's first wife, Kathleen Jenkins. The couple divorced in 1912. O'Neill once said he did not even meet his father until age 12...

 (1910–1950). In 1917, O'Neill met Agnes Boulton
Agnes Boulton
Agnes Boulton was a successful "pulp fiction" writer in the 1910s, later the wife of Eugene O'Neill. Prior to their marriage, she wrote for such magazines as Breezy Stories, Snappy Stories, and Young's Magazine. Boulton was born in 1892 in England, the daughter of Cecil and Edward W...

, a successful writer of commercial fiction, and they married on April 12, 1918. The years of their marriage—during which the couple had two children, Shane and Oona
Oona O'Neill
Oona, Lady Chaplin was the daughter of Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Eugene O'Neill and writer Agnes Boulton, and the wife of British actor, director and producer Charlie Chaplin....

—are described vividly in her 1958 memoir Part of a Long Story. They divorced in 1929, after O'Neill abandoned Boulton and the children for the actress Carlotta Monterey (born San Francisco, California, December 28, 1888; died Westwood, New Jersey
Westwood, New Jersey
Westwood is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 10,908....

, November 18, 1970). O'Neill and Carlotta married less than a month after he officially divorced his previous wife.

In 1929, O'Neill and Monterey moved to the Loire Valley
Loire Valley
The Loire Valley , spanning , is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France. Its area comprises approximately . It is referred to as the Cradle of the French Language, and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards, and artichoke, asparagus, and...

 in central France, where they lived in the Château du Plessis in Saint-Antoine-du-Rocher
Saint-Antoine-du-Rocher
Saint-Antoine-du-Rocher is a commune in the Indre-et-Loire department in central France.-References:*...

, Indre-et-Loire
Indre-et-Loire
Indre-et-Loire is a department in west-central France named after the Indre and the Loire rivers.-History:Indre-et-Loire is one of the original 83 départements created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790...

. During the early 1930s they returned to the United States and lived in Sea Island, Georgia
Sea Island, Georgia
Sea Island is an affluent resort island located in the barrier islands just off the Atlantic coast of southern Georgia in the United States. The resort complex is located in an unincorporated Glynn County....

, at a house called Casa Genotta. He moved to Danville, California
Danville, California
The Town of Danville is located in the San Ramon Valley in Contra Costa County, California. It is one of the incorporated municipalities in California that uses "town" in its name instead of "city". The population was 42,039 in 2010. Danville is one of the wealthiest suburbs of Oakland and San...

 in 1937 and lived there until 1944. His house there, Tao House, is today the Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site
Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site
The Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site, located in Danville, California, preserves Tao House, the Monterey Colonial hillside home of America's only Nobel Prize-winning playwright, Eugene O'Neill.-History:...

.

In their first years together, Monterey organized O'Neill's life, enabling him to devote himself to writing. She later became addicted to potassium bromide
Potassium bromide
Potassium bromide is a salt, widely used as an anticonvulsant and a sedative in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with over-the-counter use extending to 1975 in the United States. Its action is due to the bromide ion...

, and the marriage deteriorated, resulting in a number of separations. O'Neill needed her, and she needed him. Although they separated several times, they never divorced.

In 1943, O'Neill disowned his daughter Oona
Oona O'Neill
Oona, Lady Chaplin was the daughter of Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Eugene O'Neill and writer Agnes Boulton, and the wife of British actor, director and producer Charlie Chaplin....

 for marrying the English actor, director and producer Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

 when she was 18 and Chaplin was 54. He never saw Oona again.

He also had distant relationships with his sons, Eugene, Jr., a Yale
YALE
RapidMiner, formerly YALE , is an environment for machine learning, data mining, text mining, predictive analytics, and business analytics. It is used for research, education, training, rapid prototyping, application development, and industrial applications...

 classicist who suffered from alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

 and committed suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 in 1950 at the age of 40, and Shane O'Neill, a heroin addict who also committed suicide.
Child Date of birth Date of death Notes
Eugene O'Neill, Jr 1910 1950
Shane O'Neill 1918 1977
Oona O'Neill
Oona O'Neill
Oona, Lady Chaplin was the daughter of Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Eugene O'Neill and writer Agnes Boulton, and the wife of British actor, director and producer Charlie Chaplin....

14/05/1925 27/09/1991

Illness and death


After suffering from multiple health problems (including depression and alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

) over many years, O'Neill ultimately faced a severe Parkinsons-like tremor in his hands which made it impossible for him to write during the last 10 years of his life; he had tried using dictation but found himself unable to compose in that way. While at Tao House, O’Neill had intended to write a cycle of 11 plays chronicling an American family since the 1800s. Only two of these, A Touch of the Poet
A Touch of the Poet
A Touch of the Poet is a play by Eugene O'Neill.It and its sequel, More Stately Mansions, were intended to be part of a nine-play cycle entitled A Tale of Possessors Self-Dispossessed...

and More Stately Mansions
More Stately Mansions
More Stately Mansions is a play by Eugene O'Neill.Originally intended to be part of a nine-play cycle entitled A Tale of Possessors Self-Dispossessed, Mansions was an incomplete rough draft written between 1936 and 1939 that O'Neill did not want posthumously finished or produced...

were ever completed. As his health worsened, O’Neill lost inspiration for the project and wrote three largely autobiographical plays, The Iceman Cometh
The Iceman Cometh
The Iceman Cometh is a play written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill in 1939. First published in 1940 the play premiered on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on 9 October 1946, directed by Eddie Dowling where it ran for 136 performances to close on 15 March 1947.-Characters:* Night Hawk-...

, Long Day's Journey Into Night
Long Day's Journey Into Night
Long Day's Journey Into Night is a 1956 drama in four acts written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. The play is widely considered to be his masterwork...

, and A Moon for the Misbegotten
A Moon for the Misbegotten
A Moon for the Misbegotten is a play by Eugene O'Neill. The play can be thought of as a sequel to the autobiographical Long Day's Journey into Night...

. He managed to complete Moon for the Misbegotten in 1943, just before leaving Tao House and losing his ability to write. Drafts of many other uncompleted plays were destroyed by Carlotta at Eugene’s request.

O'Neill died in Room 401 of the Sheraton Hotel on Bay State Road in Boston, on November 27, 1953, at the age of 65. As he was dying, he, in a barely audible whisper, spoke his last words: "I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room, and God damn it, died in a hotel room." The building would later become the Shelton Hall
Shelton Hall (Boston University)
Shelton Hall is one of eight large buildings at Boston University that serve as dormitories. Located at 91 Bay State Road, the building has nine floors and a capacity of 418 students. Living quarters are divided into four- and five-person suites, and a few private doubles...

 dormitory at Boston University
Boston University
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...

. There is an urban legend
Urban legend
An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend, is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true...

 perpetuated by students that O'Neill's spirit haunts the room and dormitory. A revised analysis of his autopsy report shows that, contrary to the previous diagnosis, he did not have Parkinson's disease, but a late-onset cerebellar cortical atrophy
Cerebellar abiotrophy
Cerebellar abiotrophy , also referred to as the cerebellar cortical abiotrophy , which is a genetic neurological disease in animals best known to affect certain breeds of horses and dogs. It develops when the neurons known as Purkinje cells, located in the cerebellum of the brain, begin to die...

.

Dr. Harry Kozol, the lead prosecuting expert of the Patty Hearst
Patty Hearst
Patricia Campbell Hearst , now known as Patricia Campbell Hearst Shaw, is an American newspaper heiress, socialite, actress, kidnap victim, and convicted bank robber....

 trial, treated O'Neill during these last years of ailment. He also was present for the death and announced the fact to the public.

He is interred in the Forest Hills Cemetery
Forest Hills Cemetery
Forest Hills Cemetery is a historic cemetery, greenspace, arboretum and sculpture garden located in the Forest Hills section of the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. The cemetery was designed in 1848.-Overview:...

 in Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

's Jamaica Plain
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Jamaica Plain is a historic neighborhood of in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded by Boston Puritans seeking farm land to the south, it was originally part of the city of Roxbury...

 neighborhood.

Although his written instructions had stipulated that it not be made public until 25 years after his death, in 1956 Carlotta arranged for his autobiographical masterpiece Long Day's Journey Into Night
Long Day's Journey Into Night
Long Day's Journey Into Night is a 1956 drama in four acts written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. The play is widely considered to be his masterwork...

to be published, and produced on stage to tremendous critical acclaim and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957. This last play is widely considered to be his finest. Other posthumously-published works include A Touch of the Poet
A Touch of the Poet
A Touch of the Poet is a play by Eugene O'Neill.It and its sequel, More Stately Mansions, were intended to be part of a nine-play cycle entitled A Tale of Possessors Self-Dispossessed...

(1958) and More Stately Mansions
More Stately Mansions
More Stately Mansions is a play by Eugene O'Neill.Originally intended to be part of a nine-play cycle entitled A Tale of Possessors Self-Dispossessed, Mansions was an incomplete rough draft written between 1936 and 1939 that O'Neill did not want posthumously finished or produced...

(1967).

The United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 honored O'Neill with a Prominent Americans series
Prominent Americans series
The Prominent Americans series is a set of definitive stamps issued by the United States Post Office Department between 1965 and 1978....

 (1965–1978) $1 postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

.

Museums and collections


O'Neill's home in New London, Monte Cristo Cottage
Monte Cristo Cottage
Monte Cristo Cottage, also known as Eugene O'Neill Summer House, was the summer home of acclaimed American actor James O'Neill, and of his family, notably his son , Nobel prize-winning American playwright, Eugene O'Neill....

, was made a National Historic Landmark in 1971. His home in Danville, California, near San Francisco, was preserved as the Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site
Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site
The Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site, located in Danville, California, preserves Tao House, the Monterey Colonial hillside home of America's only Nobel Prize-winning playwright, Eugene O'Neill.-History:...

 in 1976.

Connecticut College
Connecticut College
Connecticut College is a private liberal arts college located in New London, Connecticut.The college was founded in 1911, as Connecticut College for Women, in response to Wesleyan University closing its doors to women...

 maintains the Louis Sheaffer Collection, consisting of material collected by the O'Neill biographer. The principal collection of O'Neill papers is at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

. The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center
Eugene O'Neill Theater Center
The Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut is a 501 not-for-profit theater company founded in 1964 by George C. White. The O'Neill is the recipient of the . The O'Neill is home to the National Theater Institute , and several major theater conferences including the...

 in Waterford, Connecticut
Waterford, Connecticut
Waterford is a town in New London County, Connecticut, United States. It is named after Waterford, Ireland. The population was 19,152 at the 2000 census. The town center is listed as a census-designated place .-Geography:...

 fosters the development of new plays under his name.

Full-length plays

  • Bread and Butter, 1914
  • Servitude, 1914
  • The Personal Equation, 1915
  • Now I Ask You, 1916
  • Beyond the Horizon
    Beyond the Horizon (play)
    Beyond the Horizon is a 1920 play written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. It was O'Neill's first full-length work, and the winner of the 1920 Pulitzer Prize for Drama....

    , 1918 - Pulitzer Prize, 1920
  • The Straw, 1919
  • Chris Christophersen, 1919
  • Gold, 1920
  • Anna Christie
    Anna Christie
    Anna Christie is a play in four acts by Eugene O'Neill. It made its Broadway debut at the Vanderbilt Theatre on November 2, 1921. O'Neill received the 1922 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his work.-Plot summary:...

    , 1920 - Pulitzer Prize, 1922
  • The Emperor Jones
    The Emperor Jones
    The Emperor Jones is a 1920 play by American dramatist Eugene O'Neill which tells the tale of Brutus Jones, an African-American man who kills a man, goes to prison, escapes to a Caribbean island, and sets himself up as emperor...

    , 1920
  • Diff'rent, 1921
  • The First Man, 1922
  • The Hairy Ape
    The Hairy Ape
    -Plot :The play tells the story of a brutish, unthinking laborer known as Yank, as he searches for a sense of belonging in a world controlled by the rich...

    , 1922
  • The Fountain, 1923
  • Marco Millions, 1923–25
  • All God's Chillun Got Wings
    All God's Chillun Got Wings (play)
    All God's Chillun Got Wings was a 1924 play by Eugene O'Neill about miscegenation.Paul Robeson performed in the premiere, in which he portrayed the black husband of an abusive white woman who, resenting her husband's skin colour, destroys his promising career as a lawyer.-Performances:Trish Van...

    , 1924
  • Welded, 1924
  • Desire Under the Elms
    Desire Under the Elms
    Desire Under the Elms is a play by Eugene O'Neill, published in 1924, and is now considered an American classic. Along with Mourning Becomes Electra, it represents one of O'Neill's attempts to place plot elements and themes of Greek tragedy in a rural New England setting. It is essentially a...

    , 1925
  • Lazarus Laughed
    Lazarus Laughed
    Lazarus Laughed is a play by Eugene O'Neill written in 1925. Its sub-title was A Play for Imaginative Theatre. It is a long theo-philosophical meditation with more than a hundred actors making up a masked chorus. In theatrical format, Lazarus Laughed appears to be a Greek tragedy. But the...

    , 1925–26
  • The Great God Brown
    The Great God Brown
    The Great God Brown is a 1926 play by Eugene O'Neill. It is noted for its use of masks.-Plot:Dion Anthony and his friend William A. "Billy" Brown are sons of business partners. Both love Margaret, but she falls in love with Dion when he is presented behind a cruel and cynical mask, even though he...

    , 1926
  • Strange Interlude
    Strange Interlude
    Strange Interlude is an experimental play by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. O'Neill finished the play in 1923, but it was not produced on Broadway until 1928, when it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Lynn Fontanne originated the central role of Nina Leeds on Broadway...

    , 1928 - Pulitzer Prize
  • Dynamo
    Dynamo (play)
    Dynamo is a play in three acts written by Eugene O'Neill in 1929, each act is composed of three scenes.-Production history:The play, starring Glenn Anders and Claudette Colbert, opened on Broadway on February 11, 1929 and closed in March, after 50 performances...

    , 1929
  • Mourning Becomes Electra
    Mourning Becomes Electra
    Mourning Becomes Electra is a play cycle written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. The play premiered on Broadway at the Guild Theatre on 26 October 1931 where it ran for 150 performances before closing in March 1932...

    , 1931
  • Ah, Wilderness!
    Ah, Wilderness!
    Ah, Wilderness! is a comedy by American playwright Eugene O'Neill that premiered on Broadway at the Guild Theatre on 2 October 1933.-Plot summary:...

    , 1933
  • Days Without End, 1933
  • The Iceman Cometh
    The Iceman Cometh
    The Iceman Cometh is a play written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill in 1939. First published in 1940 the play premiered on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on 9 October 1946, directed by Eddie Dowling where it ran for 136 performances to close on 15 March 1947.-Characters:* Night Hawk-...

    , written 1939, published 1940, first performed 1946
  • Hughie
    Hughie
    Hughie is a short two-character play by Eugene O’Neill set in the lobby of a small hotel on a West Side street in midtown New York during the summer of 1928. The play is essentially a long monologue delivered by a small time hustler named Erie Smith to the hotel’s new night clerk Charlie Hughes,...

    , written 1941, first performed 1959
  • Long Day's Journey Into Night
    Long Day's Journey Into Night
    Long Day's Journey Into Night is a 1956 drama in four acts written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. The play is widely considered to be his masterwork...

    , written 1941, first performed 1956 - Pulitzer Prize 1957
  • A Moon for the Misbegotten
    A Moon for the Misbegotten
    A Moon for the Misbegotten is a play by Eugene O'Neill. The play can be thought of as a sequel to the autobiographical Long Day's Journey into Night...

    , written 1941–1943, first performed 1947
  • A Touch of the Poet
    A Touch of the Poet
    A Touch of the Poet is a play by Eugene O'Neill.It and its sequel, More Stately Mansions, were intended to be part of a nine-play cycle entitled A Tale of Possessors Self-Dispossessed...

    , completed in 1942, first performed 1958
  • More Stately Mansions
    More Stately Mansions
    More Stately Mansions is a play by Eugene O'Neill.Originally intended to be part of a nine-play cycle entitled A Tale of Possessors Self-Dispossessed, Mansions was an incomplete rough draft written between 1936 and 1939 that O'Neill did not want posthumously finished or produced...

    , second draft found in O'Neill's papers, first performed 1967
  • The Calms of Capricorn, published in 1983

One-act plays


The Glencairn Plays, all of which feature characters on the fictional ship Glencairn -- filmed together as The Long Voyage Home
The Long Voyage Home
The Long Voyage Home is an American drama film and directed by John Ford. It features John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, Ian Hunter, Barry Fitzgerald, Wilfrid Lawson, John Qualen, Mildred Natwick, Ward Bond, among others....

:
  • Bound East for Cardiff, 1914
  • In The Zone, 1917
  • The Long Voyage Home, 1917
  • Moon of the Caribbees, 1918

Other one-act plays include:
  • A Wife for a Life, 1913
  • The Web, 1913
  • Thirst, 1913
  • Recklessness, 1913
  • Warnings, 1913
  • Fog, 1914
  • Abortion, 1914
  • The Movie Man: A Comedy, 1914
  • The Sniper, 1915
  • Before Breakfast, 1916
  • Ile, 1917
  • The Rope, 1918
  • Shell Shock, 1918
  • The Dreamy Kid, 1918
  • Where the Cross Is Made, 1918
  • Exorcism 1919


Other works

  • The Last Will and Testament of An Extremely Distinguished Dog, 1940. Written to comfort Carlotta as their "child" Blemie was approaching his death in December 1940.

External links