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Long Day’s Journey into Night

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 23 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1096
  1. Birte Twisselmann, web editor, BMJ
  1. btwisselmann{at}

The US playwright Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953) wrote his autobiographical play, Long Day’s Journey into Night, in 1940, but it was not published until 1956. Posthumously it won him his fourth Pulitzer prize in 1957. The play, whose themes include addiction, tuberculosis, and depression, stretches over one April day in 1912.

Mary and James Tyrone have been married for 35 years and are parents to Jamie and Edmund (modelled on O’Neill) and to Eugene, who died of measles in infancy. Mary has always blamed her eldest son, from whom the baby must have caught the infection. She …

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