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Editor: Frederick Wilkins
Suffolk University, Boston

Vol. III, No. 1
May, 1979


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SALLIES AND RIPOSTES: A NEW NEWSLETTER SERIES.

[I find that I'm always gathering short quotations and passages--snippets from here and there, many of them about O'Neill--that I have no particular need for, but that arrested my attention for a moment for one reason or another: their verbal felicity, or insight, or wit, or sheer oddity, or whatever. Perhaps, I felt, they might be worth sharing with others, for use or at least for amusement. So, in the season appropriate to housecleaning, I clear the current file and offer herewith a few, to start the ball rolling, with the hope that others will send in what they have snipped, making the series much richer than it is this time. All I ask is that contributors include documentation, if it's available, for all the items they add to the series. --Ed.]

1. "When I played Mary Tyrone,...I read quite a lot about the O'Neill family, since it is such an autobiographical play. And a doctor friend got me a very good monograph on morphine addiction, which gave me the most marvelous insight into why a woman like Mary Tyrone needed the drug. It opened an enormous door to her psyche, which I felt was that of an adolescent unable to become a mature woman." --Constance Cummings, New York Times (Sunday, January 28, 1979), Section II, pp. 3, 28.

2. "I'd love to have done one good drama, a really serious play--Mourning Becomes Electra, for instance, or Long Day's Journey into Night. I know I could do those parts, but they would never be offered to me. Maybe it's too late for all that." --Claudette Colbert, New York Times (Sunday, December 3, 1978), Section II, p. 38.

3. "You either believe art or you don't. It's hard to believe Eugene O'Neill's The Great God Brown, but you believe Long Day's Journey into Night more than you believe most of your own life." --Jack Kroll, Newsweek (March 12, 1979), p. 103.

4. "O'Neill was always verbally and visually sensitive about his settings. His explanatory crude line drawings for the scenes of The Emperor Jones reveal his understanding of design and the significance of setting as symbolic background for dramatic action." --Donald Oenslager, The Theatre of Donald Oenslager (Wesleyan University Press, 1978).

5. "I'm not really familiar with much of American theatre, but I don't like Arthur Miller at all, because he is old-fashioned, conventional, and commercial. I do like O'Neill." --Eugene Ionesco, New York Theatre Review (December, 1978), p. 29.

6. "With the possible exception of Eugene O'Neill in his later years, a universal genius has not yet been developed in America who encapsulates, and thereby unites, the history and culture of a whole people." --Robert Brustein, The New York Times (Sunday, November 19, 1978), Section II, p. 6.

7. "To suggest that there is much more to O'Neill [than the late plays] and that his future reputation may rest more heavily on the earlier plays may be taken as heresy. But the times change, and so do national moods. When we finally emerge from the gloom of the first nuclear explosions and the first war to bring us shame and get out from the shadow of Watergate, we may well begin to reevaluate such earlier O'Neills as Desire Under the Elms, which, for all its melodrama, expresses a belief in man's capacity for heroism. We may begin to honor O'Neill not only for the gloomy visions of the later years but for the enormous variety of his earlier work, for the beauty of his plays of the sea, the sunny optimism of Ah, Wilderness!, the majestic power of Mourning Becomes Electra, and the profound compassion of The Emperor Jones and The Hairy Ape. We may, and we should." --Elliot Norton, Boston Herald American (Sunday, December 10, 1978), p. D9.

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