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Editor: Frederick Wilkins
Suffolk University, Boston

Vol. XI, No. 3
Winter, 1987



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The concatenation of two separate but complementary circumstances will affect both the immediate and the long-range future of the Newsletter; and each is of sufficient moment to justify mention at this, the conclusion of the Newsletter's eleventh year of operation. Be not afeard: the publication is in excellent health and shows no signs of weakening, even if the present issue is somewhat shorter than its recent predecessors. Indeed, the changes necessitated by the aforementioned circumstances will make it more respectable and valuable than ever. But each may be accompanied by some regret, so an up-front (and, I hope, positive) prefatory note seems advisable.


The first circumstance is my decision to step down as editor at the end of the 12th volume in 1988. Many have noted, quite rightly, that the Newsletter has never lived up (or, perhaps, down) to its name. While it has always included the notes, abstracts, and event and publication lists appropriate to a newsletter, these features have become dwarfed by the essays and review-articles that fill most of its pages. Its format is wrong for the status of journal to which it aspires, while its thrice-ennial appearance is wrong for a harbinger of things to come: most of its news is old! It would need a much larger staff to carry out either of its missions effectively, and only radical surgery can cure it of its bifurcated aims. Accordingly, I have asked the Eugene O'Neill Society to take full charge of its operation after 1988, and have suggested that the one publication become two--a quarterly newsletter that can get the news out quicker; and an annual, refereed journal, guided by a board of editors and housed in a more sophisticated chassis. I certainly won't desert the patient during its "operation": it and I have aged together most amicably. But I do feel that the scalpels and subsequent pens should be wielded by more and fresher hands, which the Society is admirably equipped to provide. With a newsletter that's quicker and a journal that's slicker, the Society will have the two public voices it needs to carry out its business with maximum efficiency and appeal. I will hope to be a member of the editorial board, but I do feel that twelve years are more than enough for one hand to be at the helm.


The second circumstance concerns only the year and volume ahead. A university press has declined publication of a volume of selected papers from the 1984 and 1986 O'Neill conferences at Suffolk University in Boston. (I won't specify the institution, except to say that it is in the Northeast.) It was the opinion of the directors and one of two outside readers that the Assays were too brief and too "talky" to merit preservation between covers hard or soft. I regret the decision, not only because I agree with many conference-goers that the papers were exceptionally good, but also because it is now too late to achieve publication in book form by the end of the already-begun O'Neill centennial year. Accordingly, to speed their dissemination, I have decided, if their authors will agree, to devote the bulk of Volume XII to the publication of a majority of the papers from the two conferences--approximately nine per issue. I think that my faith in the papers' value will be shared by readers and subscribers, and I hope that a book eventually will appear, so that the essays will have the even broader readership that they deserve. (Authors of the selected papers can expect a letter requesting permission in the very near future.) Rereading the essays, I find that none of them has become seriously "dated" in the time since their delivery; and their appearance in Volume XII will assure a smashing finale for my twelve years as editor. Naturally, new material will still be welcome, and will be included in 1988 where possible. Whatever remains will be handed on to my designated successors for possible publication in 1989 and after.

I said in my foreword to this volume's first issue that the Newsletter was jauntily entering its "second decade," and, despite the news above, I have no reason to retreat from that optimistic assumption now. Whatever changes in name, shape or format the Newsletter undergoes after 1988, its spirit will continue undeterred, because that spirit comes from its caring, contributing readers, and I know they will be as genial and loyal to its future editors as they have always been to its first, who herewith, albeit prematurely, offers his deepest gratitude to them all. --FCW

The Eugene O'Neill Newsletter, Vol. XI, No. 3, ISSN: 0733-0456. Copyright (c) 1987 by the Eugene O'Neill Newsletter. Copyright 2011 by Harley J. Hammerman. Editor: Frederick C. Wilkins. Assoc. Editor: Marshall Brooks. Subscriptions: $10/year for individuals in U.S. and Canada, $15/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 @ $5 each. Address: The Eugene O'Neill Newsletter, Department of English, Suffolk University, Boston, MA 02114 U.S.A.


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