Sheaffer's two-volume biography of American platwright Eugene O'Neill-the second volume of which won a Pulitzer Prize-makes use of previously unknown documents and numerous interviews to present an insightful look at O'Neill's troubled life.
The most lauded playwright in American history, Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953) won four Pulitzer Prizes and a Nobel Prize for a body of work that includesThe Iceman ComethMourning Becomes ElectraDesire Under the Elms, andLong Day's Journey into Night. His life, the direct source for so much of his art, was one of personal tumult from the very beginning. The son of a famous actor and a quiet, morphine-addicted mother, O'Neill had experienced alcoholism, a collapse of his health, and bouts of mania while still a young man. Based on years of extensive research and access to previously untapped sources, Sheaffer's authoritative biography examines how the pain of O'Neill's childhood fed his desire to write dramas and affected his artistically successful and emotionally disastrous life.