LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
[The editor welcomes letters on any pertinent subject, merely requesting that you indicate if a letter is not for publication. All confidences will be honored.]
1. From Jacob H. Adler, Head, Department of English, Purdue University, 24 Feb., 1981:
A few issues of the Newsletter ago, you published a letter I wrote to you commenting on an article which related A Touch of the Poet to The Wild Duck and Hedda Gabler, and pointing out a probable relationship to The Wild Duck in a much earlier play, Strange Interlude.
Now I have just been teaching A Touch of the Poet, and a possible relationship to another of Ibsen's play's occurred to me. O'Neill rather frequently gives his characters names which have a meaning. He certainly does with Con Melody, a man who "cons" people and who tries desperately to make of his life a melody when it has become a cacophony. The name is every bit as ironical, without being as obvious, as Harry Hope's in Iceman. Is it not then at least possible that the name of Con's wife is also an irony? She is Nora; and she has spent her whole life--and will continue to spend it--as Nora did, and then rebelled from doing, in A Doll's House. Nora I walked out. Nora II never will. The husband of Nora I treated her as a doll, a child, someone not his equal in maturity. The husband of Nora II treats her as a lower-class drudge, someone not his equal in social standing. Maybe O'Neill didn't have Nora I in mind; but he certainly knew his Ibsen thoroughly, as A Touch of the Poet itself demonstrates. And it's hard to believe that anyone familiar with Ibsen could even encounter, much less use, the name Nora without thinking of A Doll's House.
2. From John J. McKenna, New York City, 5 Jan., 1981:
A celebrity auction for the benefit of the New York Public Library was held on Sunday, October 19, 1980. Three lots included O'Neill material. The catalogue described them as follows:
Number 13 O'Neill, Eugene, Mourning Becomes Electra, A Trilogy. N. Y.: Horace Liveright, 1931. Lg 8vo. Full vellum. No. 469 of 550 copies (500 for sale), signed by the author. Jo Mielziner's copy, with his signature on the endpaper. Near fine in a slipcase of which only the front and back panels remain. Est. $100 - 125
Number 26 O'Neill, Eugene, Strange Interlude. N. Y.: Boni & Liveright, 1928, 4to. Full vellum. No. 172 of 775 copies (750 for sale) on all-rag watermarked paper, signed by the author. Jo Mielziner's copy with his signature on the endpaper. (He designed the first production.) Fine in scuffed and slightly torn slipcase. Est. $150 - 175
Number 38 O'Neill, Eugene. First editions of O'Neill's plays, as follows:
The Lot: $125 - 150
I thought that it was interesting since most of the material was Jo Mielziner's. was not present at the auction and have no idea who the successful bidders were.
I trust that you will find this interesting enough to pass on to your readers.
3. From Edith Reid, Brooklyn , New York, 22 Dec., 1980:
I am probably the least academic and/or theatrical subscriber to your publication, never having attended a university--not even a little college--nor presently active in the theatre behind the footlights. But I am an O'Neill aficionado.
It might interest you to know that I use the Newsletter as a source of education. That is, when it arrives, I drop all other reading matter and delve into the particular plays being reviewed or commented on. In addition, I try to attend performances of any O'Neill play that you list in advance and that is playing in the Greater New York area. I did see the Classic Theatre's A Moon for the Misbegotten and loved it, even though it was a hot night (offstage as well) in a non-air-conditioned studio.
So here you have one subscriber's point of view.
[And here, Ms. Reid, you have one editor's--and his publication's--raison d'Ítre. While it is the Newsletter's wish (if newsletters can wish!) to serve and unite the O'Neillians of the theatre and those of the academy, it can have no desire greater than to provide the kind of service for which you have found it useful. And how kind and thoughtful of you to let me know. Believe me, it is heartening, especially on dark days of deadline, to remember that someone is waiting for the next issue, and cares. Many thanks, FCW.]
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