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William Vaughan Moody Biography

(1869–1910), The Masque of Judgment, The Fire Bringer, The Death of Eve, The Great Divide

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American dramatist, born in Spencer, Indiana, educated at Harvard. Moody later taught English at Harvard and then at the University of Chicago. He was both poet and playwright, and his earliest plays were blankverse dramas, The Masque of Judgment (1900) and The Fire Bringer (1904), neither produced in his lifetime. The first debates man's rightful exercise of free will which leads him to rebel against God's authority; the latter deals with rebellion through the narrative of Prometheus. A third such play, The Death of Eve, remained incomplete at Moody's death: it was to deal with the reconciliation of God and man through the creation of woman. The Great Divide (1906), originally produced under the title A Sabine Woman, was an important realization of a crucial issue in American culture, the conflict between puritanical repression and the liberated individualism of the frontier West. The Faith Healer (1909) deals with a man who seeks to recover the healing powers he lost when he gained the earthly love of a woman. Moody has long been regarded as the precursor of Eugene O'Neill in the depth of his understanding of the interior landscape of the American psyche.

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