Page 4. " excited talks about Ibsen and Shaw and O'Neil "

A Norwegian playwright and poet of the 19th century, Henrik Ibsen was considered one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre. Through his plays he examined and challenged conventional Victorian values and morality, giving many of his works a scandalous reputation.

Eugene O'Neill
Public DomainEugene O'Neill - Credit: Carl Van Vechten
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was an Irish playwright. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 60 plays. Many of his plays focus on the main social issues of the time, including education, marriage and religion, but integrate comedic elements that make them more approachable.

Born in 1888, Eugene O'Neill was an American playwright. He is considered to have introduced realism to American drama. O'Neill's works typically included themes of tradgedy and despair, with immoral characters that are often struggling in society. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1936.

Page 4. " the show of hands in which a common-sense majority chose The Petrified Forest "

The Petrified Forest is a play by Robert E. Sherwood. It was first performed in 1935. The plot centres around three characters: Alan Squier, an intellectual who has come to the desert to die; a waitress named Gabby who longs to move to France to study art; and Duke Mantee, a criminal attempting to reunite with a woman he never talks about. The play explores the American myths of the artist and the gangster, and arrives at the realisation that they have more in common than first thought.



Page 14. " pebbled with sweat, still holding his Tommy gun "
Thompson Submachine gun
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThompson Submachine gun - Credit: de:Benutzer:Steschke

A Tommy gun (or Thompson submachine gun) is a large, compact submachine gun that was used by the United States Army from 1938 to 1971.

The gun was invented in 1919 by John T. Thompson, and was popular amongst criminals, soldiers and police. It was used in the Bosnian War, World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War.

Page 17. " the year he'd lived in Chester, Pennsylvania- no, in Englewood, New Jersey "

Chester is a city of around 37,000 people, situated on the Delaware River in the state of Pennsylvania, between Philadelphia and Wilmington.


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Englewood is a city in New Jersey, with a population of approximately 26,000 people.


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Page 18. " he'd chosen all the items of his wardrobe from the window of an Army and Navy store "

Army and Navy is a chain of department stores in Canada, founded in 1919 by Samuel Joseph Cohen. It originally acted as a discount store, selling liquidation stock from stores that were closing, in addition to cut-price army and navy goods from World War I. The stores sold a range of items including clothing, furniture and beauty products.

Page 18. " a morning in Rye Country Day "

Rye Country Day School is located in Rye, New York. A co-educational preparatory school, it was established in 1869.


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Page 19. " sophisticated feel of the silk tie and Oxford shirt "
Oxford Cloth
Creative Commons AttributionOxford Cloth - Credit: Chris Hoare

An Oxford shirt is made from Oxford cloth, a woven cotton fabric. It is popular for dress shirts as it has a silk-like finish.

Page 20. " a crumbling block of Bethune Street, in that part of New York "

Bethune Street in Manhattan was named after Joanna Bethune, who co-founded the New York Orphan Asylum.


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Page 21. " belonged to two of his Columbia College classmates "

Columbia College is an undergraduate college at Columbia University in Manhattan, New York City.

Founded in 1754, the college is the oldest institution of higher learning in New York.

Page 23. " As an intense, nicotine-stained, Jean-Paul-Sartre sort of man "

Born in 1905, Jean-Paul Sartre was a French playwright, philosopher and novelist. His work earned him a reputation as one of the leading figures in 20th century philosophy, and he continues to be a significant influence in the field today.

In 1964, Sartre was awarded, but refused, the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Page 23. " at a party in Morningside Heights "

Morningside Heights, in Manhattan, New York City, is part of the Upper West side. The neighbourhood is enclosed by Morningside Park, Harlem and Riverside Park, and is the home of Columbia University. The main road through the neighbourhood is Broadway.


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Page 25. " you seem to be doing a pretty good imitation of Madame Bovary "

Madame Bovary (1856) is a novel by Gustave Flaubert. 

Emma Bovary is a doctor's wife who longs to escape her dull, predictable, routine life and indulges in a number of affairs.