A TOUCH OF THE POET by Eugene O'Neill


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Embedded in a story of an Irish family in America are the familiar and important O'Neill themes -- strangers in an alien world, divided personalities, a man whose self-conception does not correspond with his objective existence. Cornelius Melody lives in a world which ended years ago and which now has been exaggerated through his imagination. Caught between his unfilled dreams of grandeur and nobility and the ignoble reality of his origin and the impecunious present, he elects to delude himself, to sustain the myth. The ambivalence which marks his life has its ramifications in his wife and daughter. Sara, the daughter, taunts him, though she, herself, is not free from his aspirations. Her love for a Yankee of wealth and good family eventually provokes the denouement, which is staged in the barn where Melody kills the thoroughbred mare, a symbol of his dream-life, and discards his old uniform, his ""airs"", and his cultured speech. The story is told with compassion and involvement bearing the O'Neill stamp of genius in this his last full-length play.

Publisher: Yale Univ. Press