Eugene O'Neill and Oriental Thought: A Divided Vision

Eugene O'Neill and Oriental Thought: A Divided Vision

Eugene O'Neill and Oriental Thought: A Divided Vision

Eugene O'Neill and Oriental Thought: A Divided Vision

Synopsis

"Off and on, of late years, I have studied the history and development of all religions with immense interest as being for me, at least, the most illuminating case histories' of the inner life of man."- Eugene O'Neill writing to M. C. Sparrow, 1929

While it is commonly accepted that Eugene O'Neill studied Oriental mystical religions and that this study may be detected in some of his less successful experimental plays (Lazarus Laughed, The Fountain, Marco Millions) there has not been an effort to consider systematically his "immense interest" and the influence it had on O'Neill's thought and writing. Robinson explores the tension between Occidental and Oriental elements in the playwright's art, examining both the sources of the conflict and its manifestation in selected plays written between 1916and 1942 .

Through an examination of O'Neill's correspondence, research library, and manuscript materials (some of which have previously been unavailable for study) Robinson is able to reveal the origins of O'Neill's Orientalism. An easy familiarity with the complex interrelationships of Eastern and Western religions and the Oriental thought that underlies the ideas of many Western philosophers, allows Robinson to address the intricate problem of Oriental influences on O'Neill's favorite Western sources, including Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Jung, Strindberg, and Emerson.

Finally in a play-by-play exegesis, Robinson traces the course of O'Neill's mysticism from its apparent repudiation in the deeply flawed Dynamo to its synthesis in The Iceman Cometh, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and Hughie, where Eastern ideas of maya, dynamic polarity, and the emptiness of the universe are again evident.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.