Publication details

Eugene O'Neill's Haunted Land- and Seascapes



Year of publication 2023
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
Description In his experiments with the Modernist dramatic form, Eugene O’Neill often employs the environment as an active participant of events in his plays. The land and the sea, together with natural phenomena such as the weather, daytime, and seasons of the year, present a symbolic landscape and seascape to the dramatic plot, as well as entities with their own agency and interaction with the characters. This livid depiction of the environment is often labeled “suggestive realism”, a typical feature of O’Neill’s first half of his career, from the early plays to the American cycle plays of the late 1920s. This presentation will focus on O’Neill’s innovative, experimental Modernist devices of employing environments as vehicles of collective and individual identities. It will illustrate O’Neill’s concept of manifest history and identity, which find their presence in the environment of the landscape as associated with various collective American identities, including the Yankee selfsufficiency ideal (as in Desire Under the Elms), the Irish-immigrant peasant trope (Beyond the Horizon), and the racial/ethnic clash involving African Americans (All God’s Chillun’ Got Wings); the suggestive realism also enables to show a personal history as present in the living seascape (Anna Christie).
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info