From 1935 to 1939, Eugene O’Neill worked on a series of plays that would trace the history of an American family through several generations. He completed just two of the proposed eleven plays—A Touch of the Poet and More Stately Mansions—which Zander Brietzke argues represent the core of the entire cycle. Combining archival research, literary analysis, and theatrical imagination, Magnum Opus invites an audience to see this unusual and exciting epic as a historical drama of our time.
"The definitive study of the Cycle, and therefore a book that will last the test of time.”—Robert M. Dowling, author of Eugene O'Neill: A Life in Four Acts
“There is no other work in O’Neill studies that does what Brietzke does here.”—Beth Wynstra, Babson College
“Deftly tracking the twists and turns of Eugene O’Neill's artistic process while placing female characters in the forefront, Zander Brietzke manages to turn historiographical excavation into a breathtaking page-turner.”—Shannon Jackson, University of California, Berkeley
“This dramaturgical excavation and reassessment of O’Neill’s cycle explores a literary mystery, with Brietzke as the extremely qualified detective. He pairs rigorous scholarly analysis with his artistic understanding as a theatremaker. It’s a joy to follow the breadcrumbs with him. This book adds significantly to the field of O’Neill scholarship and offers new inroads for practitioners bringing O’Neill to the stage.” —Ilana M. Brownstein, Director of New Work, Company One Theatre