IN THIS ISSUE:
EDITORIAL FOREWORD: APOLOGIES AND A SPECIAL SECTION
Periodically, when I begin to receive discreet notes from faithful readers asking if their subscriptions have prematurely expired (they have not, nor have I!), I feel particular regret that, because my editorial bowler must frequently do battle with a chairmanly chapeau, each issue is not always ready at the start of its appointed season. Rather than offer an inferior journal by bowing to equinoctial dictates, I prefer to heed Friar Lawrence's advice to that amorous speedster, Romeo: "Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast." And I hope I may say to you what Romeo said to his friends (and receive more indulgent retorts than he did from Mercutio): "Pardon, ... my business was great, and in such a case as mine a man may strain courtesy"! While I must not sacrifice quality to punctuality, I assure you that, when a season arrives unaccompanied by its designated issue, you can confidently say, with another of the Bard's unhappy heroes, "if it be not now, yet it will come" (italics added)! And please accept my apologies--especially authors eager to see their words in print--for taxing your exemplary patience.
This is not the first issue to feature a "special section." Four times in the past the Newsletter has presented groups of articles focusing on a specific title or topic: twice on The Hairy Ape, and once each on Hughie and O'Neill's plays in performance. But those groups happened by chance, and the collection presented herewith is doubly "special" because it marks the first time that articles on a particular subject were specifically solicited, and because the subject, "O'Neill's Women," is particularly timely.
I am grateful to everyone who submitted an article; I offer sincere apologies to those whose work, because of spatial and fiscal restrictions, had to be omitted; and I also apologize--in what must be my most penitent preface to date--to any readers, feminist or other, who were offended by my chosen title for the section. One mentioned it to me, and I agree that there is a condescending tone in the phrase "O'Neill's women," especially when the section includes an essay on Susan Glaspell. (As Linda Ben-Zvi's brilliant introduction to the career and work of Ms. Glaspell amply demonstrates, she was very definitely her own woman!) However, since the other five essays concern characters of O'Neill's creation, I have chosen to let the section title stand, but I will happily--or, at least, unreluctantly--print any letters of chastisement that may be forthcoming.
I recently saw a book-length study of (if I may say it) Shakespeare's women that pointed out how free he was of the sexist prejudices of his age. The essays which follow will show, I fear, that the same cannot be said of O'Neill, whose avowed interest in "the relation between man and God" (italics added) can be taken more literally than he consciously intended, and who probably deserves the combined criticism of Professors Nelson and Drucker. But the collection, far from being a concerted cry of condemnation, also shows that "O'Neill's women," despite their "diminished destiny" (the phrase is Professor Nelson's), are a fascinating subject for study and contemplation.
I close with special thanks to Marshall Brooks for the striking cover illustration, and to my colleague, Bette Mandl, who served tirelessly as consultant and guide in the preparation of the special section, and who would, did she not have an excellent essay of her own to submit, have been officially designated its guest editor. To her belong any laurels you're moved to send; to me, any contumely. I know she joins me in eagerly awaiting your responses to the section--and your suggestions for similar special sections in the future.
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QUIZZICAL QUICKIE: In a performance of what O'Neill play did John Gielgud share a London stage with, among others, Angela Lansbury's mother? (Frederick Wilkins offers the answer in lieu of bio at the end of this issue. No peeking, though!)
The Eugene O'Neill Newsletter, Vol. VI, No. 2. ISSN: 0733-0456. Copyright (c) by the Eugene O'Neill Newsletter. Copyright © 2011 by Harley J. Hammerman. Editor: Frederick C. Wilkins. Assoc. Editor: Marshall Brooks. Subscriptions: $6/year for individuals in U.S. & Canada, $10/year for libraries, institutions and all overseas subscribers. Only one-year subscriptions are accepted. Members of the Eugene O'Neill Society receive subscriptions as part of their annual dues. Back issues available @ $3 each. Address: The Eugene O'Neill Newsletter, Department of English, Suffolk University, Boston, MA 02114 U.S.A.
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