Aug 16, 2013
11:37 AMArts & Entertainment
Eugene O'Neill's Boxer Shorts for Sale at a Connecticut Bookshop
(page 2 of 2)
In one of the letters published by Yale University Press in Selected Letters of Eugene O’Neill, the playwright disparages and seeks dirt on his estranged wife, Agnes Boulton, whom he had left for the flamboyant actress Carlotta Monterey.
Writing to one of his laywers, Harry Weinberger, at the beginning of July 1928, amid divorce-settlement negotiations with Boulton, O’Neill alleges that Boulton’s daughter Barbara—supposedly from a first marriage to a Mr. Burton in England—was actually the child of “a Polish farmer” who lived near the Boulton family at its farm in Cornwall Bridge—a farmer who is described as the lover of Agnes Boulton’s mother at the same time he was in love with Anges.
“And people think my Desire, for example, is too sordid to be real!” O’Neill writes to his attorney, before going on to suggest the hiring of a private investigator to talk to the “natives of Cornwall Bridge” and find out the Boulton clan’s secrets, so O’Neill would have something to hold over Agnes Boulton’s head as divorce leverage. “Her friends have stuffed her with the idea that she has me by the balls or she would never have the guts to act as she is doing,” O’Neill writes.
Selected Letters is gripping reading for O’Neill fans—and as for those “balls,” an aficionado with a bit of cash to spare can now buy the underwear where they once resided.