Forging a Language: A Study of the Plays of Eugene 'Neill by Jean Chothia
What must dramatic language do? Jean Chothia suggests it must shape our apprehension of individual character, at the same time conveying more to the audience than to the other characters; it must present us with a continually developing action as each speech emphasises or modifies our perception of what has gone before; and the action and staging must be so related to the dramatic language that they become its necessary complement in our experience of the play. In this lucid and perceptive 1979 account of O'Neill's linguistic development as a dramatist, Dr Chothia assesses how far he may be said to have fulfilled these obligations, a question on which critical opinion is sharply divided. Dr Chothia explores O'Neill's erratic career phase by phase, his use of literary models, his mastery of a wide range of registers from Swedish to Irish immigrant, as well as the imagery he forged amongst other things.