The Unknown O'Neill Summary

The Unknown O’Neill

Here published for the first time are three full-length plays: THE PERSONAL EQUATION, which O’Neill wrote while a student at Harvard University and a member of George Pierce Baker’s 47 Workshop; the uncut, eight-act original version of MARCO MILLION, originally titled “Marco’s Millions”; and a four-act melodrama, THE GUILTY ONE, based on O’Neill’s scenario “The Reckoning,” written--with his collaboration--by Agnes Bolton O’Neill. Other theatrical works appearing here for the first time in book form are O’Neill’s THE ANCIENT MARINER and the fourth act of THE OLE DAVIL, the play that became ANNA CHRISTIE. Also gathered here are two short stories, “Tomorrow” and “S.O.S.,” an unpublished love poem, “To a Stolen Moment,” and several critical and occasional pieces--including the fascinating work diary recounting the conception, composition, and revisions of MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA. There is here, as well, THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF SILVERDENE EMBLEM O’NEILL. written by the playwright in memory of his Dalmatian, Blemie.

Although Bogard’s commentaries are often more interesting than the pieces they introduce, and although this anthology may be of slight interest to the general public, scholars and students of O’Neill’s life and work will find much here of critical interest. Many of the works contained here not only represent stages of the playwright’s artistic development, as he struggled to assimilate into his writing the literary influences that, among others, George Bernard Shaw and Henrik Ibsen had upon him; but, as Bogard notes, they also foreshadow--technically and thematically--O’Neill’s later, more mature and major work.