Chapter

The Misery of the Misbegotten

Edited by John Patrick Diggins

in Eugene O'Neill's America

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780226148809
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226148823 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226148823.003.0002
The Misery of the Misbegotten

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The story of Eugene O'Neill's ancestry and that of his immediate family shows how the emotion of desire could arise from the experience of desolation. The O'Neill family carried the “curse of the misbegotten” to the grave. His Irish background carried as much pain as pride. The early American stage remained too cheerful to be a training ground for young O'Neill. Eugene O'Neill appeared upon the scene in 1916, producing a one-act play that might have been titled, in view of its existential dread, “As He Lay Dying” (the actual title was Bound East for Cardiff). O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night is considered as among the greatest plays in modern drama. The personal torments in this play have left a deep impression among those who have seen the play in the past half-century.

Keywords: misbegotten; Eugene O'Neill; Irish; As He Lay Dying; Long Day's Journey into Night; modern drama; desire

Chapter.  9264 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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