Ah, Wilderness!

Ah, Wilderness!

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Ah, Wilderness!

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Ah, Wilderness! is a comedy by American playwright Eugene O'Neill that premiered on Broadway at the Guild Theatre on 2 October 1933.

Plot summary

The play takes place on the Fourth of July, 1906, and focuses on the Miller family, presumably of New London, Connecticut. The main plot deals with the middle son, 17-year-old Richard, and his coming of age. The title derives from Quatrain XI of Edward Fitzgerald's translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which is one of Richard's favorite poems.


On the Fourth of July 1906 in a small Connecticut town, the Miller family is finishing breakfast. Nat Miller owns the local newspaper and, with his wife Essie, who have a total of 6 children (yet the oldest 2 are never referred to by name). Eleven-year-old Tommy dashes outside to set off fireworks. Mildred, fifteen, teases her nineteen-year-old brother, Arthur, who plays football at Yale. Sharing the breakfast are Nat's sister Lily and Essie's brother Sid, who have had an on-and-off relationship for years, currently off because of Sid's drinking.

Richard, nearly seventeen, is the one member of the family who has not come in from breakfast. His mother worries about the "subversive" books he is reading by the likes of Swinburne, Shaw, Oscar Wilde and the poet Omar Khayyam. She wonders if he will become an anarchist. Richard is passionately in love with Muriel, the girl next door.

The family gathering is broken up by Muriel's father, McComber, who accuses Richard of...
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