Eugene O’Neill is the only American dramatist to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. He also won four Pulitzer Prizes throughout his career, one posthumously. Written by an O’Neill scholar for a broad audience, this work is meant “to reproduce the life and drama of the playwright in a sustained dialogue with nearly five generations of O’Neill critics, scholars, fellow dramatists, friends, and family members.” Following the structure of other titles in the publisher’s Critical Companion series, this one begins with a biography, followed by A–Z coverage of O’Neill’s works. Next comes a dictionary of “Related People, Places, and Topics.” Appendixes contain a chronology of O’Neill’s life and bibliographies of works by and about the writer. Entries on O’Neill’s works are detailed; nearly 30 pages are devoted to The Iceman Cometh, for example. Each entry contains some background on the writing of the play as well as a synopsis, commentary, character descriptions, and a bibliography for further reading. Cross-references often refer to the “Related People, Places, and Topics” section. Black-and-white photographs, many of them from stage productions, are scattered throughout the text. These volumes are wonderfully organized and very easy to use. They would be very appropriate for libraries catering to a high-school and undergraduate audience. Entries are of a length to provide a good background of O’Neill’s works and life. Also available as an e-book. --Jennifer Dawson
About the Author
Robert M. Dowling, Ph.D., is associate professor of English at Central Connecticut State University. He is the author of Slumming in New York: From the Waterfront to Mythic Harlem.