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Long Day's Journey into Night Paperback – 6 Jun 1991

4.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 110 pages
  • Publisher: Nick Hern Books; New edition edition (6 Jun. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854591029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854591029
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Set in 1912, the year of O'Neill's own attempted suicide, it is an attempt to understand himself and those to whom he was irrevocably tied by fate and by love. It is the finest and most powerful play to have come out of America. --Christopher Bigsby

Book Description

This powerful play is a dramatized autobiography of the great American playwright, Eugene O'Neill, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Nobel Prize for Literature. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
The great bulk of Eugene O'Neill's work was done between about 1914 and 1933, a period which saw him win Pulitzer Prizes for Beyond The Horizon, Anna Christie, and Strange Interlude as well as create The Emperor Jones, The Hairy Ape, Desire Under the Elms, The Great God Brown, and Mourning Becomes Electra. But around 1933 O'Neill--who struggled against physical ailments, alcoholism, and a host of personal demons--fell silent.
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.
Over the four acts and next four hours the morning passes into afternoon, the afternoon into night.
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Format: Paperback
When Eugene O'Neill wrote this play in 1940, it was so autobiographical that O'Neill requested it not be published until twenty-five years after his death. When he died in 1953, all the other characters in the play had also died, however, and his wife allowed the play's publication in 1956. Despite O'Neill's three previous Pulitzer Prizes and his Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936, it is this play (also a Pulitzer winner) that he regarded as his most important work, an assessment with which historians and theatre-goers universally agree. Many (and I am one) also believe it is the greatest American play ever written.
Long Day's Journey Into Night is a complete theatrical experience, satisfying on every level. Recreating his own family and its interactions, O'Neill's emotional connection with the characters is obvious in the roundness of their characterizations: there are no villains or heroes here. James Tyrone, modeled on his father, is an actor who found the "perfect play," resulting in years of travel performing the same role. Permanently typecast and by now bored, James has earned a substantial salary but is considered a tightwad, unable to escape his memories of poverty. Mary Tyrone, his wife, to whom he is devoted, traveled with him when he performed, often leaving the children with family members. When her youngest child died in her absence, she blamed everyone for this accident. Edmund, modeled on O'Neill himself, was born after this, but Mary never recovered, and when an incompetent doctor prescribed drugs, she became blissfully addicted.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read and studied this play as I was using it for my monologue, and it is an absolutely amazing play.

Even though there is not alot of action in the play, the characters and writing keep you reading throughout. One thing that I especially liked was that from the very beginning you can see that the characters are not one dimensional but have so many layers of emotions and purpose - the characters are really alive though that may be because it's an autobiographical play. In my opinion, playwrights who have been through so much and have had such profound life experiences, are able to effectively bring that experience and emotion and inject it into their work which results in well-rounded, relatable and believable characters. In this regard, another favourite of mine is Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie which again is autobiographical and textually and emotionally very rich.

In all, it's a great emotionally charged and powerful play!
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Format: Paperback
Eugene O’Neill was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936, and won several Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. “Long Day’s Journey…” is generally considered his magnum opus. It was first performed in 1956, three years after his death. For this Kindle edition, with the all-too-appropriate cover, there is an introduction by Harold Bloom, one of the many of this genre that might be easily skipped. Bloom is unequivocal in his praise: “Long Day’s Journey must be the best play in our more than two centuries as a nation.” Bloom performs a tour-de-force of brief comparisons between O’Neill and most other celebrated writers. Warning! If you decide to plod through the intro, you may enjoy the following insights: “O’Neill seems a strange instance of the Aestheticism of Rossetti and Pater, but his metaphysical nihilism, desperate faith in art and phantasmagoric naturalism stem directly from them.”

As for the play itself, there are only five characters: James Tyrone, 65, an accomplished actor, his wife Mary, 54, stricken with rheumatism, their son James, 33 a ne’er-do-well, still searching for his place in the world, and the younger son, Edmund, 23, who is not in good health, along with an Irish servant girl, Cathleen. The entire play occurs on one day, in August, 1912, at the Tyrone’s summer house (and only house), somewhere along the New England coast.

Although the play is set in time more than a century ago, the central theme could be ripped from today’s headlines concerning opioid abuse and addiction. Mary got “hooked” on morphine, prescribed to her by a doctor after the death of her second son. She continues to seek its solace, since, as she says: “It hides you from the world and the world from you. You feel that everything has changed, and nothing is what it seemed to be.
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