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By Women Possessed by Arthur Gelb and Barbara Gelb
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By Women Possessed by Arthur Gelb and Barbara Gelb
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Nov 01, 2016 | ISBN 9780399159114

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    Nov 01, 2016 | ISBN 9780399159114

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Praise for By Women Possessed 

“A juicy and entertaining volume that brims with such offstage theatrics.”— The New York Times

“Now, in By Women Possessed, we have by far their most comprehensive portrait of a man who was the ultimate example of a god with feet of clay… the result of the accumulated work and reflections of over 60 years, the Gelbs have produced a monumental tome…It stands as both a monument to O’Neill and as a testament to their labors…the industrious Gelbs demonstrate as profound a love for their subject as could be wished, and they regard detail unearthed as potential gold dust.” Wall Street Journal

“It is as difficult to put down this exhaustively reported reexamination of America’s first major playwright as it is to ignore fresh productions of his great plays.” — Washington Post

“This extraordinary book is the final chapter in a fifty-year effort to help us to know and understand our greatest dramatist. Barbara Gelb and her late husband, Arthur, have given us the most important resource in illuminating the life and work of Eugene O’Neill.”—Brian Dennehy

“This is a compelling examination of one of the 20th century’s most passionate and troubled minds, and a prime example of expert, diligent, and wryly editorial biographical research.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A compellingly full-size portrait of a literary titan.”—Booklist

“The Gelbs are renowned for their Eugene O’Neill biographies, and the new one…is packed with riveting details and rich portraits of O’Neill and the people in his life, particularly third wife Carlotta. It’s also just a great read. The relationship of Eugene and Carlotta is shown as loving at times, shot through with angst and anger at others; oh, the drama!…By Women Possessed is a fine last legacy, a tribute to his and his wife’s work and their fascination with and exploration of O’Neill.”— New London Day

“A fitting capstone to a lifetime’s study of the strange and tormented man who revolutionized the American Theater.” — Irish Echo

“Their illuminating third volume, bolstered by his third wife Carlotta Monterey’s previously unreleased diaries, reevaluates the influence of his mother and his three wives. When his morphine-addicted mother Ella told him she wished he’d never been born, she betrayed O’Neill in a way he would never forgive. His love-hate for her shaped his work and his marriages to Kathleen Jenkins, fiction writer Agnes Boulton and Carlotta. The Gelbs describe how, after his death at 65 in 1953, Carlotta mounted productions of The Iceman Cometh and Long Day’s Journey into Night, solidifying his legendary status” — BBC

Arthur and Barbara Gelb cornered the market on Eugene O’Neill with their celebrated biographies O’Neill and O’Neill: Life with Monte Cristo.  You wouldn’t think there’d be much more to say, but several years ago, they discovered unpublished diaries by O’Neill’s third wife, Carlotta Monterey. The result is the fascinating By Women Possessed…Not for the faint of heart…But neither, for the most part, are O’Neill’s plays.” — New York Post

“Besides drawing a precise and stirring portrait of the genre-defining writer’s tortured and inspired career, the Gelbs – Arthur passed away in 2014 while completing this project to which the couple dedicated both of their nearly 70-year careers – also present a fascinating account of the world of American theater in the first half of the 20th century.”Harper’s Bazaar

Praise for

“One is dragged into the very presence of a genius and made to feel his awful size. O’Neill was the great wrestler, fighting God to a standstill. The authors have brought out his failings as a writer and as a person only to leave him larger than before. I for one will never forget the image of him the authors have made. O’Neill needed this book, we all did. The theater will always need it, for most of the time it is in the hands of triflers who will forever need the towering rebuke of his life and his work and his agony.”—Arthur Miller
“This is a wonderful book. It has the flow of fine fiction and the impact of reality. Its protagonist was a giant. He founded the American theater and his own story is as dramatic and as tragic as any of his plays. But this book is more than his life story. It reveals the making of an artist, the sources of his materials and insight into the mystery of his genius. The authors live in the theater; they know it and they care. They have sought out scores of people who knew O’Neill, and out of a monumental job of research, they have re-created the color of six decades. This book is a work of devotion—and one of the very best books I have read about the American theater.”—Eliz Kazan
Praise for O’Neill: Life With Monte Cristo

“[This book] is more than a biography; it’s a truly magnificent, insightful and meticulously documented original work worthy of O’Neill’s genius. Having thought I knew almost everything about O’Neill, I am truly wide-eyed at the discoveries that Arthur and Barbara Gelb have made.”—Jason Robards
“This is a great symphony of a book where Arthur and Barbara Gelb guide us to the lower depths of Eugene O’Neill’s family. Here are many of the ingredients of a modern tragedy—alcoholism, drug addiction, ethnic angst, spiritual despair and even success of a certain kind, all narrated and scrutinized with insight, eloquence and , above all, compassion. It doesn’t matter that you know the fate of the O’Neill family: you still can’t put the book down. There is only one place this book can be shelved—right next to the immortal plays of Eugene O’Neill. Like Richard Ellmann and James Joyce, the Gelbs and O’Neill are linked forever.”—Frank McCourt

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