The Iceman Cometh

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9780394700182: The Iceman Cometh

The Place: Harry Hope's bar, a cheap gin-mill of the five-cent whiskey, last-resort variety situated downtown on the West Side of New York.

The Time: Salesman Hickey's birthday celebration, two days during the summer of 1912 -- a time when all tomorrows are forced abruptly to become today; when the delineation between hopes, dreams, and pipe dreams disintegrates; when "self-knowledge" destroys self-respect, compassion -- and life.

One of the last of Eugene O'Neill's plays, The Iceman Cometh stands today with Long Day's Journey into Night and A Moon for the Misbegotten as the supreme expression of his dramatic genius.

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From the Back Cover:

EUGENE O'NEILL mined the tragedies of his own life for this depiction of a seedy, skid row saloon in 1912, peopled by society's failures: worn-out anarchists, failed con artists, drifters, whores, pimps, and informers. The pipe-dreaming drunks of Harry Hope's bar numb themselves with rotgut gin and make grandiose plans while waiting for the annual appearance of the big-spending, fast-talking salesman, Hickey. But this year's visit fails to bring the expected good times, as a changed Hickey tries to rouse the barflies from their soothing stupor with a proselytizing message of salvation through self-knowledge.

Considered by many to be the Nobel Prize-winning playwright's finest work, The Iceman Cometh exposes the human need for illusion as an antidote to despair. The recent internationally acclaimed production, starring Kevin Spacey, has highlighted anew the subversive genius of O'Neill's play.

About the Author:

Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953), the author of 49 plays, won four Pulitzer Prizes for drama, and is the only American playwright to have received a Nobel Prize.

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