Eugene O’Neill, the revolutionary of the American theater, won four Pulitzer Prizes and is the only American playwright to have been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.  He is credited with creating a new American theater, a theater of realism, a style that is common place today.  Prior to O’Neill’s entrance into the theater world, American theater companies were producing melodramas and spectacles that revolved around high society.  O’Neill broke tradition by writing plays that depicted the working class in realistic settings and situations.  O’Neill was an innovator and an artist who took risks and challenged himself and American society; paving the way for the next generations of great American playwrights, including Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, and Tony Kushner. 

This course explores the question of how the world around us influences an individual’s creative journey.  Does that individual maintain the status quo or revolt against it?  We will explore O’Neill’s plays in cultural, historical, and biographical contexts and see how New London, O’Neill’s boyhood home, influenced and is portrayed in his work.  During the course we will visiting the Charles W. Morgan at Mystic Seaport Museum, while we study O’Neill’s play that is set aboard a whaling ship.  We will also tour New London and visit locations that are relevant to O’Neill’s life and hold a class session at the Monte Cristo Cottage, which is the setting for O’Neill’s greatest play, Long Day’s Journey into Night.  In addition to the museum visits, students will utilize the primary documents that are in the Sheaffer-O’Neill Collection in at the Linda Lear Center for Collections and Archives in Shain Library.  The collection includes letters, interviews, and photographs that give great insight into Eugene O’Neill, his work, and the American theater.  




As a ConnCourse, this class will make connections across the liberal arts.

Cross Listed Courses

This is the same course as AMS 235.

Enrollment Limit

Enrollment limited to 18 students.