Menu Bar


O'Neill Son and Playwright

Sheaffer, Louis
Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1968
Fourth printing, with dust jacket

    NOTES:  Inscribed by Sheaffer to Harley Hammerman.


INSCRIPTION: (On front free endpaper)

Good luck, Dr. Hammerman, / in your own quest for / O'Neill. / Sincerely, / Louis Sheaffer / April 9, 1985


By far the most significant biography of O'Neill yet to appear.  The combined volumes (O'Neill, Son and Artist, 1973) are probably the definitive work.  Representing some sixteen years of detailed research into every possible corner of O'Neill's life, through documents, personal interviews with many individuals who have since died, and personal letters now available, particularly from the O'Neill collection at Yale, these books carry his entire career and death.  As the titles imply, the aspect of O'Neill's position as the son of James O'Neill and as the surviving son of the tortured family gets continual emphasis throughout the biographical and critical discussions.  There is no attempt to make any journalistic exposé of a "real" or "secret" individual, but a better picture of many of O'Neill's personal and artistic motivations beyond the simplistic "curse" of something like Bowen's approach does emerge through Sheaffer's extensive research.  Critical evaluation of the plays is minimal, but to the point.  These volumes give the playwright and his family a fully-rounded portrait, placing O'Neill the man and artist in the clearest, most understandable perspective yet available.Miller


© Copyright 1999-2007