Richard Gray

The Private Life of an American Dreamer

Arthur Miller: A Life

By

Faber & Faber 484pp £25 order from our bookshop

In the autumn of 1962, an excited Arthur Miller telephoned his friend and professional colleague Robert Whitehead to announce, ‘I have a son.’ Miller and his third wife, Ingeborg Morath, were planning to call the boy Eugene, possibly after the playwright’s eminent predecessor Eugene O ‘Neill. The morning after this call , however, Miller phoned Whitehead again. ‘He isn’t right,’ Miller observed of the new baby, using the word ‘mongoloid’ to explain just what was not ‘right’ about him; ‘I’m going to have him put away.’ And so he did. The boy, named Daniel now, not Eugene, was enrolled in a ‘home for individuals with Mental Retardation’, not far from where his parents lived. It was there that Daniel was to spend the forty years of his life. His mother visited him every week, but it seems his father never did. Miller would never acknowledge his son Daniel in public. None of his official chronologies mention his birth; and, in Miller’s autobiography, Timebends (published in 1987), Daniel does not exist.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter