"In 1946, a literary statistician ascertained that, in the world of O'Neill plays, there had been 12 murders, eight suicides, 22 other deaths and seven cases of insanity"
To read the attached biographical essay is to understand that O'Neill did not become America's premiere tragedian by simply reading about the disasters in the lives of others; his entire life was a tragedy. In his wake were alcoholic, suicidal children and numerous unloved wives.
In celebration of being awarded a Pulitzer Prize for having written the best American play of 1920 (Beyond the Horizon), theater critic Walter Prichard Eaton (1878 – 1957) saw fit to slip playwright Eugene O'Neill his back hand with a double-dose of venomous criticism:
"...O'Neill's work to date remains intellectually and spiritually thin."
Stage editor Hiram Motherwell (1888 – 1945) examined the meteoric rise of playwright Eugene O'Neill (1888 – 1953) and asked, "What can he do next?"
"Eugene O'Neill is now forty-seven. His plays have just been enshrined in the "definitive edition", handsome, ingratiating, expensive. They are probably more widely discussed than those of any other living playwright. They have been produced in almost every city from Moscow west to Tokyo. They have been translated into more languages. And yet it is evident that O'Neil, standing on the crest of this superb eminence, has completed a cycle; come to a momentous turning in the path his creative genius has followed. Where will the path lead?"
A marvelous interview with the thirty-four year old playwright, Eugene O'Neill (1888 – 1953) -coincidentally published just as it seemed his stock was on the rise.
Click here to read a 1930s article about Eugene O'Neill.