Early in his career, Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953) wrote a series of plays revolving around characters obsessed with the sea. This period culminated in the 1922 production of Anna Christie, a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama of social realism that was among the first of the author's plays to explore characters searching for their own identities. Centering on the reunion of a barge captain and his daughter after a twenty-year separation, the play derives its tension from the former's disaffection for the seafaring life and the latter's love for a sailor. The father-daughter conflict elicits a shocking confession, which illuminates the author's contention that character is fate and the seemingly external forces controlling destiny actually lie within.
Anna Christie amply displays O'Neill's extraordinary insights into character and his masterly use of language, qualities that have earned him acclaim as one of America's greatest playwrights. Students and lovers of modern theater will prize this inexpensive edition of his landmark drama.