Eugene O'Neill and Oriental Thought: A Divided Vision

By James A. Robinson | Go to book overview

Epigraph

Perhaps I can explain my feeling for impelling, inscrutable forces behind life which it is my ambition to at least faintly shadow at their work in my plays.

-- O'Neill letter to Barrett Clark, 1919

I'm a most confirmed mystic, too, for I'm always, always trying to interpret Life in terms of lives, never just lives in terms of character. I'm always acutely conscious of the force behind--(Fate, God, our biological past creating our present, whatever one calls it--Mystery, certainly)--hand of the one eternal tragedy of Man in his glorious, self-destructive struggle to make the Force express him. . . .

-- O'Neill letter to A. H. Quinn, ca 1925

I became drunk with the beauty and singing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself -- actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky!

-- Edmund in Long Day's Journey Into Night

The thing that is called Tao is eluding and vague; Vague and eluding, there is in it the form. Eluding and vague, in it are things; Deep and obscure, in it is the essence.

-- Tao Te Ching, book 21

But the man who knows the relation between the forces of Nature and actions, sees how some forces of Nature work upon other forces of Nature, and becomes not their slave.

--Bhagavad-Gita

Those who realize that all this world of our experience is a Becoming, and never attains to Being, will not cling to that which cannot be grasped, and is entirely Void.

-- The Compassionate Buddha

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.

-- O'Neill letter to M. C. Sparrow, 1929

-xi-

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Eugene O'Neill and Oriental Thought: A Divided Vision
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Epigraph xi
  • 1 - A Divided VIsion 1
  • 2 - Journeys East 10
  • 3 - Northwest Passages 32
  • 4 - A Western Passage to the East 85
  • 5 - Oriental Thoughts for A Religious Theatre 120
  • 6 - Journeys Home 168
  • Bibliography 189
  • Index 197
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