In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

complicated Gene and Agnes’s romantic isolation, but soon she was spurned. At the urging of a neighbor, Gene and Agnes got married in April 1918. Soon after that, they returned to New York for rehearsals of The Rope, at which time Gene resumed drinking. Finally, Agnes managed to get him back to Provincetown. Jamie O’Neill came along, which made sobriety and work harder to resume. They remained in Provincetown through the summer, writing many things (he wrote The Dreamy Kid, Where the Cross Is Made, Shell Shock, scenarios for Chris Christophersen and The Straw; and she wrote half a dozen published short stories), until November , when they came back to New York for more rehearsals (Where the Cross Is Made and Moon of the Caribbees). They settled in Old House, in West Point Pleasant, for the winter. After a turbulent winter in Agnes’s family home, during which Agnes got pregnant, they moved back to Provincetown, to live in the Peaked Hill Bars Life-Saving Station, which Gene’s parents had bought sight unseen for them as a wedding present, based solely on Gene’s glowing description of it. During the summer of 1919, they engaged in the sometimes riotous social activity of the writers and artists who summered in Provincetown. Midway through her pregnancy, Agnes stopped writing . The demands of being married to Gene, like cooking bouillabaisse, seemed more pressing. In September, she moved to Happy Home, in Provincetown, to prepare for the arrival of Shane Rudraighe O’Neill, who was born on October 30, 1919. In November, the good news came that Beyond the Horizon was at last scheduled for production on Broadway, though at first for matinee performances only. With his short trip to New York, early in December, the extant correspondence between Gene and Agnes begins, and his letters convey an increased sense of his need to be both producer and playwright , to take a greater responsibility for decisions that would have commercial as well as artistic impact. He returned to Provincetown in mid-December, but just after the New Year he was back on Broadway, living in the same hotel as his parents, and he was not to return for two months. The letters speak of distance and intimacy. They hated separation, and yet withdrawal had already become a mode of coping with dissonance in the marriage. They both attempted to keep up a rhythm of daily correspondence, but the irregularity of mail delivery, complicated by winter weather, not to mention various failures to maintain the daily discipline , led to the development of annoying gaps, temporal and emotional. Traces of Marriage: Provincetown • 101 Her life was uneventful and isolated. She was trying to work on a few stories , but her focus was on the baby and on the rigors of life so far from town in an extreme climate. Gene had been so insistent on preserving their solitary existence, she had been fearful of telling him about her pregnancy the previous spring. To her surprise, he had seemed happy when he found out, but as soon as the baby was born—insistently, noisily real— he learned just how intrusive such a presence might be. The lifesaving station had several rooms, including an observation tower, but as cold weather drew on, the heating system, an oil stove, limited the options for finding a quiet corner in which to work. That winter, he preferred to be in New York, helping with the birth of his first Broadway production, his first full-length play, and so he went “beyond the horizon.” He had his own room in the Prince George Hotel, but he was daily nurtured by his parents, at least in the supply of alcohol, which became illegal to sell at the end of January 1920. His father had a stock, and Gene’s incipient success in the commercial theater opened an understanding dialogue between father and son, such as is heard in the last act of Long Day’s Journey. Not in a long time had Gene felt so much at home with his parents. When he fell ill with influenza just after the opening , he stayed on in New York to be nursed by his mother (“Mama! It isn ’t a summer cold!”), medicated by his father, and nurtured by the critics who declared him important. Being alone, at that moment, might have seemed convenient in several respects. Helen DePolo recalled that Mrs. O’Neill looked down on Agnes as “the Irish servant...

pdf

Additional Information

ISBN
9780472027057
Related ISBN
9780472117178
MARC Record
OCLC
657217551
Pages
328
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.