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Editor: Frederick Wilkins
Suffolk University, Boston

Vol. XII, No. 1
Spring, 1988



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1988 is unquestionably a banner year for O'Neillians. From the conference on "Eugene O'Neill and the Emergence of American Drama" in Han-sur-Lesse, Belgium, on May 20 - 22, to the session on "O'Neill at 100: Respects and Retrospects" at the Modern Language Association convention in New Orleans at the end of December, conferences around the world (in Sweden, Japan, China, India and West Germany as well as the U.S.) will acknowledge O'Neill's centennial and assess his achievement and influence. The largest collection ever of his letters, edited by Jackson Bryer and Travis Bogard, will be published by Yale University Press this summer; and two Bogard-edited volumes of his collected plays will be out in the Library of America series by October. And, as the reviews and production list in this issue indicate, the theatrical celebration will be as widespread and festive as the scholarly one. That I am penning these remarks in Brussels on the eve of a flight to a Nobel symposium on O'Neill and Strindberg in Stockholm is characteristic of the globe hopping of many ecstatic O'Neillians in this season of justified satisfaction.


The Newsletter's contribution to the festivities, in addition to full reports on all of the aforementioned activities, will be the publication, throughout Volume XII, of papers from the 1984 and 1986 O'Neill conferences at Suffolk University in Boston. I wish there were room for all of the more than 50 papers, aside from the five or so that have already been printed elsewhere. But even a selection of them will make this year's issues the biggest yet, and perhaps the best. This first installment features Travis Bogard on an epistolary romance of the teenage New London blade; Paul Voelker on the first play, A Wife for a Life; Gary Jay Williams on fiction and fact in the accounts of O'Neill's Provincetown debut; Marc Maufort on the structural sophistication in the Glencairn quartet; Thomas P. Adler on a likely Irish source for Anna Christie; Michael Hinden on the American agenda in the plays of the 1920s; and Susan Tuck on telling parallels in works by O'Neill and Faulkner. Do stay tuned: this is just the first of three such gorgeous gatherings! (I should mention, to save space later, that the quotations from O'Neill's letters in Professor Bogard's essay are printed with the kind permission of the Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.)

We will of course continue to print newer material as well, as space permits. And Philip C. Kolin's study in this issue offers a valuable complement to the Tuck essay, suggesting a continuum of influence that extends from Shakespeare to O'Neill to Faulkner.

I imagine that many rejoiced when Mark Twain, responding to announcements of his death, assured the world that they were "greatly exaggerated." Had he previously announced the demise himself, he may have felt as I do now, when, after announcing my retirement as editor at the end of 1988, I wish, after reconsideration, to stay on a bit longer. The question really is, how can I gracefully get my foot out of my mouth and back in the door?! I can't, really; but I want to assure the many who wrote, that I wasn't coyly soliciting the kind words they sent, though I greatly appreciated the sentiments expressed.

However, the discussions attendant on my announcement have been beneficial. The O'Neill Society should produce an annual volume of the best long work on O'Neill per annum. Shakespeare and Shaw are accorded such treatment, so why not O'Neill? And under the leadership of Jackson Bryer, an O'Neill annual is en route to actualization. The thrice-ennial Eugene O'Neill Newsletter will become a semiannual Eugene O'Neill Review in 1989, and I welcome the services of Steven Bloom and Yvonne Shafer as book review and theatre review editors respectively. I will offer more news on the journal's metamorphosis in my next foreword. For the present, I beg your indulgent permission to continue as editor, and welcome you to the Newsletter's twelfth, last, and best year of all. --FCW


The Eugene O'Neill Newsletter, Vol. XII, No. 1, ISSN: 0733-0456. Copyright (c) 1988 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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