Long-Lost Play by Eugene O'Neill is Published by Yale University Press

EXORCISM: A Play in One Act, by Eugene O'Neill; Foreword by Edward Albee; Introduction by Louise Bernard

New Haven, Connecticut, UNITED STATES


NEW HAVEN, Conn., Feb. 12, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Yale University Press is pleased to announce the publication, on February 28, 2012, of Eugene O'Neill's Exorcism: A Play in One Act, with a foreword by Edward Albee and an introduction by Louise Bernard. The recent discovery and publication of O'Neill's early, long-lost work furthers our knowledge of O'Neill's dramatic development and reveals a pivotal point in the career of this great American playwright. In addition, the sharply autobiographical play explores themes that permeate his later work, including his masterpiece Long Day's Journey into Night, also published by Yale University Press.

Exorcism, set in 1912, is based on O'Neill's suicide attempt, from an overdose of Veronal, in a squalid Manhattan rooming house—a defining event that led to O'Neill's first serious efforts to write. The play premiered at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York City on March 26, 1920. Following a few performances, however, O'Neill abruptly canceled the production and destroyed what were believed to be all copies of the work. What was known of it came mostly from reviews by theater critics such as the New York Times's Alexander Woollcott, who called the play "uncommonly good." Biographers have speculated that O'Neill withdrew the play, produced as O'Neill's father was dying, because it was too revealing of O'Neill's own demons and potentially distressing for his parents.

For more than ninety years, the play was thought to be irrevocably lost. But recently it was discovered that O'Neill's second wife, Agnes Boulton, had in fact retained a copy, which she later gave as a Christmas gift to screenwriter and producer Philip Yordan. In early 2011 Yordan's widow found the typescript, with edits in O'Neill's own hand. The play was then acquired by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, the principal repository for the Eugene O'Neill Papers.

The New Yorker acquired first serial rights and published the play in its entirety, with an introduction by theater critic John Lahr, in the magazine's Fall Books issue in October 2011. (The Book Bench, the New Yorker's books blog, posts a short video of actor Tommy Schrider giving a dramatic reading of a speech by O'Neill's alter ego, Ned Malloy.)

O'Neill, a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner and a recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature (1936), returned to many of the issues that surface in Exorcism in his heavily autobiographical play Long Day's Journey into Night. Published posthumously by Yale University Press in 1956, that play won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 and has since sold more than one million copies.

Exorcism contains the text of the play and a facsimile of the typescript. It also features a foreword by Edward Albee, the noted American playwright. According to Louise Bernard, who, as a curator in the Beinecke's Collection of American Literature, contributed the introduction, "Exorcism might be read as a preparatory sketch that resonates powerfully with Long Day's Journey into Night, one that brings the O'Neill family drama full circle in ways at once intimate and grandly conceived."

Also Available from Yale University Press

Long Day's Journey into Night , 2d edition

ISBN 978-0-300-09305-6 paper

ISBN 978-0-300-16622-4 ebook

The Iceman Cometh

ISBN 978-0-300-10079-2 paper

ISBN 978-0-300-16620-0 ebook

A Moon for the Misbegotten

ISBN 978-0-300-11815-5 paper

Collected Shorter Plays

ISBN 978-0-300-10779-1 paper

"A Touch of the Poet" and "More Stately Mansions"

ISBN 978-0-300-10079-2 paper

*** Serialized in The New Yorker ***

Published in association with the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Exorcism: A Play in One Act

By Eugene O'Neill

Foreword by Edward Albee; Introduction by Louise Bernard

ISBN: 978-0-300-18131-9 Cloth * eBook ISBN: 978-0-300-18605-5 * Price: $18.00 * 112 pages

Publication Date: February 28, 2012

Brenda King

Publicity Director

Yale University Press

(203) 432-0917

brenda.king@yale.edu 

Yale University Press is a premiere scholarly book publisher of art, architecture, business, economics, environmental studies, history, law, literature,  philosophy, political science, psychology, reference, religion, science, and world languages titles.

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