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I want to howl

John Lahr: Eugene O’Neill, 5 February 2015

Eugene O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts 
by Robert Dowling.
Yale, 569 pp., £20, October 2014, 978 0 300 17033 7
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... O’Neill’s imagination, he saw himself as a novelist, as the latest of his many biographers, Robert Dowling, points out. After a near fatal suicide attempt in 1912 – the episode is chronicled in the recently discovered short play ‘Exorcism’ – he gave up the romance of death for the romance of art. ‘So here’s looking forward to the new ...

Someone Else’s

Matthew Reynolds: Translating Cesare Pavese, 6 October 2005

Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930-50 
by Cesare Pavese, translated by Geoffrey Brock.
Carcanet, 370 pp., £14.95, April 2004, 1 85754 738 1
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The Faber Book of 20th-Century Italian Poems 
edited by Jamie McKendrick.
Faber, 167 pp., £12.99, June 2004, 0 571 19700 0
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... in English? Two of the poems in Disaffections make you wonder. Pavese addressed them to Constance Dowling, the American actress with whom he was involved in the months before his suicide in 1950, and they now frame the sequence published posthumously as Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi (‘Death Will Come and Will Have Your Eyes’). Adopting ...

‘I’m glad what I done’

Gavin Millar, 13 October 1988

A Life 
by Elia Kazan.
Deutsch, 848 pp., £17.95, June 1988, 0 233 98292 2
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... wife Molly, from whom he was temporarily estranged, nor his adored mistress, the actress Constance Dowling (later to drive Cesare Pavese to suicide), with whom he was about to enjoy a passionate reconciliation. His fame now resides in his turning ‘friendly’ witness to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952, by naming colleagues who had formed a ...

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