More Stately Mansions represents the first printing of the complete and unexpurgated version of Eugene O'Neill's play, prepared from the original typescript housed at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. The sixth in a line of eleven plays O'Neill planned but never finished, the play was part of a cycle he called A Tale Possessors Self-Dispossessed. The cycle would have spanned several generations and traced the Harford family's pursuit of material gain from 1755-1932. O'Neill completed and published only one other cycle play, A Touch of the Poet. Arguing that the 1964 edition of More Stately Mansions, prepared after the playwright's death, was missing a substantial amount of material that O'Neill intended for inclusion, Martha Bower presents an entirely new edition of the play with this material - dialogue, character description, an entire scene, the epilogue, and large parts of other scenes - restored. Written in 1939, and set in the 1830s and 1840s, the play is still of contemporary importance in its frank exposure of the devious intrigues of an American family's exploitation of a business opportunity.
O'Neill's enlightened vision fostered the creation of two strong, intelligent women characters and the candid portrayal of a family dominated by love, hate, and jealousy. Reflecting the playwright's own unresolved family and sexual tensions, Bower holds that More Stately Mansions is, in fact, more true to the reality of his own essential pain than the so-called autobiographical plays. This restored and complete edition of More Stately Mansions will stand as an important contribution to O'Neill scholarship.
"Valuable in studying O'Neill's revision of the scripts and indispensable in O'Neill criticism."--Choice
"Bower makes a very convincing case that the 1964 edition is not the play O'Neill wrote in numerous and significant respects. I have no doubt that this new edition of More Stately Mansions will make a significant contribution to the study of O'Neill and of modern American drama."--Jackson Bryer, University of Maryland