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Chapter I  From O’Neill to Sam Shepard. A Century of family plays

I.1. The family play as dramatic  genre  and its evolution within the American theatre

I.2. Chamber neuroses:  the dysfunctional families of Eugene O’Neill and Sam Shepard

I.2.1. “The Family Dilemma”: security vs freedom

I.3. Decline and fall of an American Dream: the crisis of the family system as an aspect of a society in crisis

Chapter II  Long Day’s Journey into Night

II.1. The play within the O’Neillian canon

II.1.1. The text’s autobiographical nature

II.1.2. “Publication shall not take place...”. How the play reached the printed page and the stage in spite of O’Neill’s interdict

II.1.3. A play “written in tears and blood” from a man haunted by the dead

II.2. Text analysis

II.2.1. Themes and structure

II.2.2. Four fates tangled together:  the characters and their interaction

II.2.3. From light to darkness. The action’s symbolical journey

II.3. Echoes from Strindberg

II.3.1. “The most modern of moderns”. O’Neill on his debt to Strindberg

II.3.2. Thematic influences

II.3.3. Stylistic influences: the “supernaturalistic” technique

Chapter III  Lars Norén and the drama of the “closed room”

III.1. Brief outline of Norén’s oeuvre

III.1.1. A poet’s passage to playwriting

III.1.2. Autobiography and therapy

III.1.3. The connection with Strindberg and O’Neill

III.2. Natten är dagens mor and Kaos är granne med Gud: two autobiographical family quartets

III.2.1. The metaphor of the “closed room”

III.2.2. “Närmaste en superrealism”: notes on the plays’style

III.3. Och ge oss skuggorna. The O’Neill family between documentary and drama

Appendix Ingmar Bergman directs O’Neill. The production of “Lång dags färd mot natt” at Dramaten in 1988.


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