restricted access E. G. & E. G. O.: Emma Goldman and The Iceman Cometh by Winifred Fraser (review)
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BOOK REVIEWS 411 varied as Lenz, Wedekind and Harold Muller, on recent British work (pp. 33-34). He defines the biggest achievement of the Royal Shakespeare Company: "the transformation of Shakespeare's historical plays from vehicles for star actors, supported by virtually indistinguishable characters named after the English counties, into the splendid (if historically shaky) chronicles of the lust for power, spiritual aspiration, daily life, betrayal, loyalty, cowardice and courage which in fact they are" (p. 24). Lambert's tone is enthusiastic - he clearly enjoys his playgoing as much as he did twenty-five years ago - and he ends more optimistcally than Hinchcliffe: the theatre's "sense of adventure and artistic standards have ... steadily expanded since 1964" (p. 69). MALCOLM PAGE Simon Fraser University E. G. & E. G. 0.: EMMA GOLDMAN AND THE ICEMAN COMETH, by Winifred Fraser. Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press, 1974. 105 pp. $3.00. Professor Fraser has a thesis and a point of view which she pursues in this book with an obvious determination. In part, her work provides an extremely careful investigation of the possible relationships between Emma Goldman and Eugene O'Neill and the influence of the anarchist upon the playwright. This analysis attests to Professor Fraser's scholarship and climaxes in a final chapter ofquite impressive insight. But this book also has the character of a forced and artificial influence study in which the use of the initials of the two people involved suggests more eye appeal than wit. The stated purpose of the work is to show the effect - in political, psychological, and artistic terms - of the radical archetype of Emma Goldman upon O'Neill. Mainly, this is done through a study of The Iceman Cometh and an attempt to identify characters in the playas real people in the Emma Goldman coterie. But Professor Fraser really wants to go far beyond this study of influence upon O'Neill's work. She would like to believe, as she says in her final sentence, that E.G. was indelibly imprinted upon O'Neill's "ego." The book is divided into five chapters, the first of which explains the author's theme and emphasizes O'Neill's ego. The second chapter reveals Emma Goldman's interest in the American theatre along with other activities of which the author presumes some knowledge by O'Neill. Chapter three brings out all of those events in Emma Goldman's life as lover, anarchist, mother, and betrayed anarchist which may be related to Rosa in The Iceman Cometh and are revealed through the dialogue or characters in the play. The title of the fourth chapter is "E.G.O. and the Betrayal of the American Dream." Here the frequently strained argument continues in an effort to suggest any possible link between E.G. and E.G.O. The investigation is thorough, and Professor Fraser tries to show that whether or not O'Neill was a good anarchist he did support the work of Goldman . That both were betrayed seems of little import to the reader when their essential objectives in life - other than social change - were so different. The final chapter assumes an alienated O'Neill- alienated from his American Dream and from the radical culture of the anarchist. It provides a fine summary and analysis of the importance of The Iceman Cometh in O'Neill's personal and artistic development. If Emma Goldman were not mentioned, however, she would 412 BOOK REVIEWS not be missed in this chapter. Professor Fraser's very perceptive argument here does not really depend upon E.G., and that is the weakness of the study, while this chapter becomes the most meaningful part of the book. In The Iceman Cometh O'Neill writes out his dilemma, and the tenuous argument that Emma Goldman may have helped him (rather than her friends and O'Neill's friends or O'Neill's reading) becomes a footnote rather than a chapter heading. At one point in this study Professor Fraser states that "Personal contact beteen E.G. and E.G.O. is not documented." To compensate for this lack of hard fact, she marshalls all available evidence from mutual friends of E.G. and E.G.O...


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