Abstract

The article examines how O'Neill's 1922 play interrogates Italian futurism and dismantles that movement's idealized machine–man corporeality as a formal idiom and historiography. O'Neill's play, broadly about the dehumanizing effects of industrialization, more specifically concerns the grammar of selfhood and strategies in self-representation as they regard understanding one's embeddedness in larger economic, social, and semiotic networks. Drawing from the Irish revival, O'Neill's play forwards an enchanted model of exogenous personhood. By comparing the play with Alfred Santell's odd 1944 film adaptation, the article concludes by discussing the film's attempt to render “O'Neill” as a literary celebrity and popular template for a romanticized, working-class masculinity in the context of World War II. The adaptation rechannels the play's class consciousness into an affirmation of masculine power and individuality. The analysis concludes by showing how the film revisits and remediates the play's formal commitment to heroic individualism as a premise for an anachronistic economic fantasy.

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