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Long Day's Journey into Night 2nd Edition
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Although O'Neill was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936, he would remain silent for some ten years, leaving most to believe he had written himself out, was burned out, that his career was over. But in spite of tremendous personal issues, O'Neill continued to write in private, and during this period he would generate a string of powerful plays, many of which would not be released for performance until after his death in 1953. The legendary Long Day's Journey Into Night, closely based on his own family life, was written in the early 1940s. It was first performed in 1956--some three years after his death--at which time it too won the Pulitzer Prize.
The play presents the story of the Tyrone family. James Tyrone is a famous stage actor, now aging; his wife Mary is a delicately beautiful but sadly worn woman named Mary. Their two sons are studies in contrast: Jamie, in his late 30s, is wild--fond of wine, women, and song--and seen as a bad influence on younger Edmund, who is physically frail but intellectually sharp. The action takes place at their summer home, and begins in the morning; the family seems happy enough--but clearly there is something we do not know, something working under the surface that gives an unnatural quality to their interaction.Read more ›
Depressing, huh? Well, of course it is...but within it is something so powerful, so strangely beautiful, that the reader (or viewer) is enthralled. One sees seemingly strong James, ashamed of himself for selling out his acting abilities for financial security. Mary, lonely from James' years of touring, has turned to an opium addiction that she can not seem to confront. Jamie, from hate of his father's stinginess and his own self-blame, loses himself in alcohol and whores. And sweet, artistic, tubulcular Edmund (O'Neill's alter ego) plays witness in the deteration of his family's web of pain, denial and lies. All they want is for morning to come, another day to let the fog come in around them so they can forget again.
In a way, isn't that what we all want to do sometimes? Just forget what's going on around us, even for a while. I would recommend this play as absolutly essential to read--for the fan of the theatre, literature, or a layman. Anyone can relate to the pure, raw emotion and guilt O'Neill conveys. Buy it now, you'll thank me later.
The volume is labeled here as a "second edition" but in truth it's simply a corrected edition that fixes relatively minor errors that were introduced in the 1956 publication. (Due to a production error, the first printing dropped a single line. The 61st printing in 1989 restored four lines that were dropped by the typist who retyped O'Neill's edited manuscript. Otherwise, it's the same play that was originally published fifty years ago.)
The play's power comes not from its plot; there is hardly any action at all. Instead, one sees O'Neill's family living out a single and typical day. James Tyrone, Sr., has spent his entire life playing one role in a nationally popular play, much like James O'Neill (Eugene's father), who starred in an adaptation of "The Count of Monte Cristo," appearing in some 4,000 performances between 1883 and 1912. Early in the play, Tyrone realizes that his wife, Mary, has suffered a relapse into her longtime morphine addiction. Similarly, just before he turned 13, Eugene O'Neill had learned of his own mother's morphine addiction (when she attempted to drown herself).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have seen the play and enjoyed it. I will see it again soon but this time I wanted to be more 'ahead of the game' so I read it before seeing it. What a difference. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Duane M. Timm
I recently read death of a salesman, Arthur Miller, and loved it. I continued onto another of Americas greatest tragedies and was not let downPublished 2 months ago by devlin eckardt
If you've never read this play, it's a must!
Or if you read it years ago, give it another visit. A great work and still very relevant.
One of the more disturbing things you will ever read. Tension has never been conveyed to such a great and distressing level. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Drew Hunkins
An intense and heartbreaking iconic 20th Century American play that reads like a novel when taken with the meticulous stage directions. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Hapa Girl
BY FAR the greatest American play ever written about family alcohol and drug use and the various dysfunctional dynamics that go with that territory. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jim L.