International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Eugene O’Neill’s Affinity with China: A Two-way Influence
Zeng, Li (Ph.D.)

By exploring scholarships on Daoist (Taoist) tendencies in Eugene O’Neill and analyzing some of O’Neill’s plays, this study shows that ancient Chinese Daoism once cast spiritual impact on O’Neill. Whereas through surveying some of Chinese modern spoken-drama and traditional opera theaters, the study also recaps that conversely O’Neill inspired and influenced prominent Chinese modern and contemporary dramatists over the course of the twentieth century, suggesting a two-way affinity between the American playwright and Chinese culture. Moreover, by analytically connecting O’Neill with a contemporary Chinese film produced in 2006, the study further reveals that O’Neill’s inspiration and influence have continued in different Chinese cultural genres and beyond the twentieth century. Comparative studies like this are enticing because they help us understand better why writers or artists, Chinese or American, rapport with the same or similar motifs and structures for specific purposes or effects in a particular place and time.

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