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Homage to Eugene O'Neill re-invokes O'Neill's own muses to offer a re-conception of his artistic world, a re-enactment, and an entirely new work not so much in the style but in the spirit of the Nobel-prize winning American dramatist. Most closely allied with Strange Interlude but with echoes as well of Long Day's Journey Into Night and Morning Becomes Electra, Homage to Eugene O'Neill breathes new life into an epic sweep of familial history: the rise, fall, and perhaps rise again of a family of North Carolina industrialists-a family which may have bought its success by sacrificing its son to war, a family of weak men and strong women, a family that both embraces and tries to understand its tumultuous fate. Homage to Eugene O'Neill is both new work and an old, speaking through the masks of the ancestors, causing them to live anew-the literary criticism of the future.
Bruce Fleming won an O. Henry Award for his first published story, "The Autobiography of Gertrude Stein" (1991) and in 2005, the Antioch Review Award for Distinguished Prose, a career award. His experimental novel, Twilley (1997), was compared by critics to works by Henry James, T.S. Eliot, Proust, Thoreau, and David Lynch. He has published a book of dance essays, Sex, Art, and Audience (2000), many scholarly and theoretical books, and articles and essays in literary quarterlies and publications such as the Village Voice, The Washington Post, and The Nation. His series of philosophical books includes Art and Argument: What Words Can't Do and What They Can (2003), Sexual Ethics (2004), and Science and the Self (2004) and Disappointment, or The Light of Common Day (2006). These culminated in The New Tractatus: Summing Up Everything (2007). Other recent books include Annapolis Autumn: Life, Death and Literature at the U.S. Naval Academy (2005), Why Liberals and Conservatives Clash (2006), and Journey to the Middle of the Forest (2008), a memoir. Fleming's degrees, from Haverford College, The University of Chicago, and Vanderbilt University, are in philosophy and comparative literature. He is an English professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, where he has taught literature for more than twenty years.