The Shavian Dimension
Eugene O'Neill's early attraction to Shaw's work is evidenced in his memoir-comedy Ah, Wilderness! (1933), in which young Richard Miller, like O'Neill, treasures Candida and identifies himself with the young poet in the play, Eugene Marchbanks. Many early works by O'Neill have Shavian resonances, as do some later plays, such as Mourning Becomes Electra, in which Captain Brant appears to parallel Shaw's Brassbound in Captain Brassbound's Conversion. The most memorable connection, however, seems to be the chronicle comedy Marco Millions, in which lines and scenes strikingly echo Caesar and Cleopatra. Somewhat intimidated by Shaw's reputation, O'Neill, when in England, never attempted to meet Shaw, who admired the younger playwright's work. Yet when Yeats and Shaw planned an Irish Academy of Letters in the early 1930s, which would include associate members of Irish ancestry, Shaw recommended O'Neill.
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