Chapter

Anarchism: The Politics of the “Long Loneliness”

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/9780226148823.003.0004
Anarchism: The Politics of the “Long Loneliness”

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Eugene O'Neill once remarked that his radical activist friends were at war with society while his quarrel was with God. He once referred to himself as “a philosophical anarchist,” which he defined as “Go to it, but leave me out of it!” O'Neill may have become intrigued with Emma Goldman because he viewed her as being a paradox at the heart of anarchism. Goldman may have quitted possessiveness in the name of socialism but she continued self-fulfillment in the name of anarchism. While the playwright's outlook on life was thoroughly pessimistic, O'Neill's political sympathies flowed directly to the radical Left. O'Neill wrote The Personal Equation and The Hairy Ape that were meant to be observations on the state of radical politics. His sentiments were expressed in the early twenties, a time when much of intellectual America had given up on radicalism and lost interest in politics altogether.

Keywords: anarchism; Eugene O'Neill; Emma Goldman; socialism; playwright; Left; The Personal Equation; The Hairy Ape; radical politics; America

Chapter.  12740 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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