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Library of America Eugene O’Neill Edition

Eugene O’Neill
Eugene O'Neill: Complete Plays Vol. 1 1913-1920 (LOA #40) by Eugene O'Neill
Eugene O'Neill: Complete Plays Vol. 3 1932-1943 (LOA #42) by Eugene O'Neill

Library of America Eugene O’Neill Edition : Titles in Order

Book 3
The third and final volume of the first complete collection of Eugene O’Neill’s dramatic writings (available exclusively from The Library of America) contains eight plays written between 1932 and 1943, when illness forced him to stop writing. They represent the crowning achievements of his career.

O’Neill described Ah, Wilderness! as “the way I would have liked my boyhood to have been.” Set in the summer of 1906, it affectionately depicts the warm, close family of sixteen-year-old Richard Miller and the innocence with which he faces the trials of first love, strong drink, and sexual temptation.

John Loving, hero of Days Without End, is split by his lack of faith into two selves: John and his Mephistophelian double Loving, who wears John’s death mask and plots his destruction. Burdened by guilt but desperately wanting to love, John struggles with Loving’s nihilistic hatred in what O’Neill termed his “modern miracle play.”

In A Touch of the Poet, Irish tavern-keeper Con Melody is drawn by his proud past as a Byronic cavalry hero of the Napoleonic Wars toward a fatal confrontation with his wealthy Yankee neighbors, the Harfords.

Throughout More Stately Mansions, the idealistic yet cunning Simon Harford, his wife, Sara Melody Harford, and his mother, Deborah, continually shift roles and alliances as they engage in an eerie psychological and sexual battle for possession of each other and their own maddeningly elusive dreams. This volume presents the never-before-published complete text of the revised typescript for this unfinished play.

The derelict inhabitants of Harry Hope’s saloon in The Iceman Cometh find solace in their comradeship until their drifting calm is destroyed by the visiting salesman Theodore Hickey, who insists that they abandon all “pipe dreams” and face the truth about their lives. O’Neill carefully orchestrates the voices of over a dozen characters to form a chorus of overwhelming despair and surprising compassion.

Hughie is a one-act dialogue between a reminiscing gambler and a weary hotel night clerk about the promise and loneliness of city life.

Long Day’s Journey into Night unsparingly dissects the pain, rage, guilt, and love that drive a wounded family apart and bind it together. In their summer home the four Tyrones—James, a proud actor haunted by poverty, his devout, morphine-addicted wife, Mary, and their sons, Jamie, a cynical drunkard, and Edmund, an aspiring poet—slowly unveil the truth about their lives until they can no longer hope either to save or to escape one another. Published and produced posthumously, it won O’Neill his fourth Pulitzer Prize.

In its elegiac coda, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Jamie Tyrone seeks the peace that has long eluded him in the arms of sharp-tongued Josie Hogan.

The volume concludes with “Tomorrow” (1917), O’Neill’s only published short story.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 1
The only American dramatist awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, Eugene O’Neill wrote with poetic expressiveness, emotional intensity, and immense dramatic power. This Library of America volume (the first in a three-volume set) contains twenty-nine plays he wrote between 1913, when he began his career, and 1920, the year he first achieved Broadway success.

Many of O’Neill’s early plays are one-act melodramas whose characters are caught in extreme situations. Thirst and Fog depict shipwreck survivors, The Web a young mother trapped in the New York underworld, and Abortion the aftermath of a college student’s affair with a stenographer.
His first distinctive works are four one-act plays about the crew of the tramp steamer Glencairn that render sailors’ speech with masterful faithfulness. Bound East for Cardiff, In the Zone, The Long Voyage Home, and The Moon of the Caribbees portray these “children of the sea” as they watch over a dying man, sail though submarine-patrolled waters, take their shore leave in a London dive, and drink rum in a moonlit tropical anchorage.

In Beyond the Horizon Robert Mayo begins a tragic chain of events by abandoning his dream of a life at sea, choosing instead to marry the woman his brother loves and remain on his family farm. The sea in “Anna Christie” is both “dat ole devil” to coal barge captain Chris Christopherson and a source of spiritual cleansing to his daughter Anna, an embittered prostitute. When a swaggering stoker falls in love with her, Anna becomes the apex of a three-sided struggle full of enraged pride, grim foreboding, and stubborn hope. Both of these plays won the Pulitzer Prize and helped establish O’Neill as a successful Broadway playwright.

The Emperor Jones depicts the nightmarish journey through a West Indian forest of Brutus Jones, a former Pullman porter turned island ruler. Fleeing his rebellious subjects, Jones confronts his violent deeds and the tortured history of his race in a series of hallucinatory episodes whose expressionist quality anticipates many of O’Neill’s later plays.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

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