Eugene O'Neill in China: An International Centenary Celebration

Eugene O'Neill in China: An International Centenary Celebration

Eugene O'Neill in China: An International Centenary Celebration

Eugene O'Neill in China: An International Centenary Celebration


The year 1988 was notable for being the centennial of playwright Eugene O'Neill's birth and a time of unprecedented democratization in the People's Republic of China. In this optimal climate, a remarkable festival and conference devoted to O'Neill was held in Nanjing, China, attended by noted O'Neill scholars and theatre artists from around the world. The essays in this volume capture the intellectual and artistic stimulation of the conference, exploring the major areas of O'Neill scholarship, with an emphasis on his international reputation, particularly in Asia. Included is a forum on the festival productions, as well as photographs.


Haiping Liu

"It was fortunate that Eugene ONeill was born in 1888."

Many of my friends, both at home and abroad, have made the same remark to me recently. It is true that, were the American dramatist born a year later, there could have been no such enthusiastic celebration of his centenary in China as was launched in Nanjing and Shanghai successively from June 6 to 14, 1988. the social and political upheaval in China in the spring of 1989 and the subsequent return to strained diplomatic and cultural ties between China and the West would have rendered the international conference Eugene ONeill: World Playwright, jointly sponsored by Nanjing University and the Eugene O'Neill Society, and the accompanying Nanjing/ShanghaiO'Neill Theatre Festival practically impossible. a number of Sino-West academic and art projects scheduled for the summer or fall of 1989 had to be canceled almost at the last moment. While deploring most sincerely the waste of time, energy, and resources on the part of those project organizers and other people involved, I could not help congratulating Eugene O'Neill, all the scholars and theatre practitioners who came from afar to participate in his centennial in China, my colleagues here in the English Department and myself, who together had spent nearly two years in the preparations, on our common better luck.

The statement, however, could also be interpreted from a different direction in time. That is, if O'Neill had been born, let us say, one or two decades earlier, could his centenary in any way have been celebrated in China? the answer would be, emphatically, "No!"

For some thirty years after 1949 when the People's Republic was . . .

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