Eugene O'Neill: Beyond Mourning and Tragedy

Black, Stephen A.

Published by Yale University Press
ISBN 10: 0300093993 / ISBN 13: 9780300093995
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Synopsis: Within little more than three years of the opening of his first successful play on Broadway, Eugene O'Neill endured the deaths of his father, mother, and brother. These devastating losses plunged the young playwright into a period of guilt and profound mourning that consumed two decades of his life. In this enlightening critical biography, deeply informed by the insights of psychoanalysis, Stephen Black presents a new understanding of Eugene O'Neill's life (1888-1953), from his troubled childhood and adolescence through a glacially slow period of mourning for his family to his ultimate emergence from the preoccupation with grief and loss that had pervaded his life and his writings. Black argues that O'Neill consciously and deliberately used playwriting as a medium of self-psychoanalysis―an endeavor that led to the creation of some of the finest American plays ever written and, eventually, to a successful therapeutic outcome.
Through close analysis of O'Neill's plays and literary writings, some five thousand surviving letters, other personal documents, and accounts of people who knew him, Black reaches new conclusions about important aspects of the playwright's life and work. He follows the slow course of O'Neill's mourning by studying the many grieving characters in O'Neill's plays, and when at last the playwright accepts his losses and moves on, his characters do likewise. The changed tone and form of O'Neill's final plays, including Hughie and A Moon for the Misbegotten, reflect the playwright's psychological and artistic growth and his hard-won victory over mourning and tragedy.

From the Back Cover: "[This book contains] a wealth of fresh insights. . . . The entire thrust of this sensitive book is that O'Neill's art gave him the means to transcend his pain. Because Black has delineated the healing powers of that magical process so fully, readers will feel O'Neill's agony over its loss all the more keenly."—Wendy Smith, Washington Post Book World "The major strength of Black's portrait is his description of O'Neill's maturation as an artist. . . . This fascinating biography will be of interest to anyone concerned with the life of Eugene O'Neill, tragic drama, theater history, or the problems of applied psychoanalysis."—Eric J. Nuetzel, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association "This book is groundbreaking and may well alter a number of long-held conceptions about Eugene O'Neill."—Margaret Loftus Ranald, president, Eugene O'Neill Society

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Title: Eugene O'Neill: Beyond Mourning and Tragedy
Publisher: Yale University Press
Binding: PAPERBACK
Book Condition: Good

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Within little more than three years of the opening of his first successful play on Broadway, Eugene O Neill endured the deaths of his father, mother, and brother. These devastating losses plunged the young playwright into a period of guilt and profound mourning that consumed two decades of his life. In this enlightening critical biography, deeply informed by the insights of psychoanalysis, Stephen Black presents a new understanding of Eugene O Neill s life (1888-1953), from his troubled childhood and adolescence through a glacially slow period of mourning for his family to his ultimate emergence from the preoccupation with grief and loss that had pervaded his life and his writings. Black argues that O Neill consciously and deliberately used playwriting as a medium of self-psychoanalysis-an endeavor that led to the creation of some of the finest American plays ever written and, eventually, to a successful therapeutic outcome. Through close analysis of O Neill s plays and literary writings, some five thousand surviving letters, other personal documents, and accounts of people who knew him, Black reaches new conclusions about important aspects of the playwright s life and work. He follows the slow course of O Neill s mourning by studying the many grieving characters in O Neill s plays, and when at last the playwright accepts his losses and moves on, his characters do likewise. The changed tone and form of O Neill s final plays, including Hughie and A Moon for the Misbegotten, reflect the playwright s psychological and artistic growth and his hard-won victory over mourning and tragedy. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780300093995

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