Abstract

While there is no doubting the autobiographical element in O'Neill's plays, and in particular Long Day's Journey Into Night, it is important to recognize that O'Neill did not draw on his and his family's life without modification. The manner in which he curated his family's history is examined here with reference to Edmond O'Neill, Eugene O'Neill's paternal grandfather. Edmond, if we are to read the play at face value, abandoned his family in answer to a summons from his ancestors and died in Ireland in mysterious circumstances, possibly by suicide. We show here that these are not the facts in the life of Edmond O'Neill and illuminate some aspects of Eugene O'Neill's approach in examining the difference between the facts and the fictional representation of them in the play.

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