[identity profile] amie-de-rimbaud.livejournal.com
So this evening I translated Act I of Pierre Duzéa’s “Camille Desmoulins, Tragédie en cinq actes et en vers” (1894), which I’m still in the process of actually reading. It’s an interesting text as a product of the fin-de-siècle, but no aesthetic achievement; the language is painfully stilted, and I smile to imagine Monsieur Hon-Hon stumbling over those heroic couplets. Other highlights so far include Saint-Just and Camille brandishing pistolets at each other in the Jacobin club (“Par hasard, désires-tu mourir?”).

I haven’t gotten to this yet, but according to Jean-Paul Bertaud we find in Duzéa’s portrayal of Robespierre the “rejected lover” of Lucile, “mad with passion, deception and jealousy”...

I’ve posted my translation of Act I here; apologies for its *meh* quality. If there’s any interest, I’d be willing to translate either the rest of the play or just some choice excerpts (at least for the sake of amusement). I also hope to post some of his letters from the “Correspondance.”

**Update**:  Today I posted the second act on the same site. Highlights:  a weird, condensed version of Revolutionary chronology (e.g., Lucile reports that she has just witnessed the execution of the Brissotins, but isn't the action of the play supposed to take place just before Camille's death?)...the dantonistes extol Charlotte Corday as a super-virgin-killer...first mention of Robespierre as the spurned suitor out for revenge!

Paine play.

Sep. 4th, 2009 10:20 pm
[identity profile] victoriavandal.livejournal.com
A play about Tom Paine has just opened at the Globe Theatre - it's the Trevor Griffiths never-filmed film script/play that was broadcast as a radio play on Radio 4 last year, cut down to 3 hours for the stage. I didn't like the radio play - I thought it didn't catch Paine's personality, though I'm not sure if that was down to the script or Pryce's downbeat performance. I was also surprised by the take on the French Revolution, given that Griffiths is left-wing/Marxist. Paine's best biographer is the late 19thc Moncure Conway, and Conway goes to great lengths to make the very convincing case that Paine was the victim of the machinations of the American ambassador, Morris, not simply 'of Robespierre', an idea the review of this play I heard this evening put across. Paine wasn't freed when Robespierre fell - he was left rotting in prison until November, when the new American ambassador, Monroe, got him out.

Griffiths must have read Conway - he is the main man, biography-wise - so why miss this? It's surprising, especially as the Left is generally francophile and loves to put the boot into America whenever it can, especially for just this sort of backroom, Kissingeresque politicking. Ah well.
[identity profile] sibylla-oo.livejournal.com


Here you will find two of the four revolutionary plays by Romain Rolland. What a pity that the other two (Robespierre, The Wolves) are not available. Enjoy and comment! 

Poor Bitos

Nov. 16th, 2008 06:23 pm
[identity profile] pedrolino.livejournal.com
Has anyone read Poor Bitos by Jean Anouilh? It's a really interesting play (or at least I thought so) about a revolution-themed costume party, but which ends up going back in time to show several scenes from the months leading up to Thermidor as well. While Robespierre certainly starts off as being villainized, I found it much more ambiguous by the end, especially considering that pretty much everyone else comes off looking like a complete jerk at the end, as well.

Anouilh deals somewhat loosely with the historical specifics-- implications that Robespierre was in love with Lucile Duplessis, etc-- but I still think it's a really interesting piece. Has anyone else read it, and what did you think?
[identity profile] victoriavandal.livejournal.com
The filmscript for the film that Richard (Gandhi) Attenborough has never managed to get made, on Tom Paine in the American and French revolutions, is being broadcast in two parts as radio plays, 2.30-4pm BST (British Summer Time) this saturday 26th July, and next sat, 2nd August. "These Are The Times" by Trevor Griffiths. The first part is the American war of Independence, the Second part, on the 2nd, the part covering the Revolution (Paine was sentenced to death in Britain for sedition, fled to France, was elected to the Convention, then sentenced to death there as well!). There's an interview with Trevor Griffiths on the script - which he's spent 20 years on - online, on the BBC website ' listen again facility - it'll be up there till monday. Front Row, Tuesday 22nd, about 14 minutes into the programme.
The plays themselves should be available online for 7 days after broadcast.
[identity profile] victoriavandal.livejournal.com
Apparently, there's a new play coming on at the Globe Theatre (Southwark, London, re-creation of the Elizabethan theatre) in September called 'Liberty', which is going to be a verse adaptation of Anatole France's 'Les Dieux ont Soif'. I haven't read the book - from the reviews it sounded right-wing and dull - but there's an interview with the playwright on the Globe's website if anyone's interested: be prepared for some teeth grinding, as ever (sorry, I don't know how to do links!). It sounds like the usual 'revolution filtered through Buchner' approach - though at the same time it'll be quite interesting to see if it provokes any sort of debate when it comes out (it's playing for a month).
[identity profile] estellacat.livejournal.com
So, as promised, I'm finally (about a month late, but better late than never, I suppose) posting what I have as far as the portrayal of Éléonore Duplay in literature goes. The following links will only lead to English-language excerpts, but if anyone feels like browsing my journal there are a few French ones posted there too. 

In case anyone missed my explanation of why I'm doing all this for as minor a historical personage as Éléonore Duplay, I'll just briefly sum up my reasons: the first, is that--as many of you know--I'm planning of eventually writing a novel in which Éléonore will be the protagonist, so it's useful to me personally to know what others have written about her. The second is, quite simply, that it's actually possible to compile all the excerpts of novels and plays that feature Éléonore, whereas, if I were trying to do the same for say, Robespierre, well, there are entire books from his perspective... Needless to say, it would be pretty near impossible. Third, I figure since I'm making this compilation in any case, I might as well share it, since a little knowledge is unlikely to do anyone any harm. (In fact, at some point, I'll probably post some non-fiction excerpts as well, just to add some more *useful* knowledge to the mix.)

Also, while I'm not particularly fond of stating the obvious, I think it might be a good idea to note that since these are novels and plays, it's a good idea to take whatever notions the authors might get into their heads to represent, with a grain of salt. Or a whole shaker. Or a whole salt-mine. But you get the idea: when it comes to accuracy, some of these are better than others.

So, the links:

Burlesques, William Makepeace Thackeray, 1847
 British Artists from Hogarth to Turner: A Series of Biographical Sketches, Walter Thornbury, 1861 and The Atelier du Lys, or an Art Student in the Reign of Terror; Margaret Roberts; 1877
Macmillan's Magazine, John Morley, 1888
Longman's Magazine, Charles Longman, 1890 and The Journal of a Spy in Paris During the Reign of Terror, Charles Fletcher, 1895
The Friend of the People: A Tale of the Reign of Terror, Mary Rowsell, 1895
Robespierre: The Story of Victorien Sardou's Play Adapted and Novelized Under His Authority, Ange Galdemar, 1899
The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel, Emmuska Orczy, 1922
Mon ami Robespierre, Henri Béraud (Translator: Slater Brown), 1928 
Jacobin's Daughter, Joanne Williamson, 1956 (Part I) 
Jacobin's Daughter, Joanne Williamson, 1956 (Part II)
The Incorruptible: A Tale of Revolution and Royalty, Helma de Bois, 1965
A Place of Greater Safety, Hilary Mantel, 1992
A Place of Greater Safety (2) 
A Place of Greater Safety (3)
City of Darkness, City of Light; Marge Piercy; 1996
(City of Darkness, City of Light again)
The Ninth Thermidor, M. A. Aldanov, 1926
The Gods Are Thirsty, Tanith Lee, 1996
The Danton Case, Stanislawa Przbyszewska, translated by Boleslaw Taborski in 1989

One last thing: I had to make the font size very small on some of the entries in order to fit everything. I'm sorry for any annoyance/inconvenience that might cause, but it is possible to change the font size.

And as always, it would be interesting to see any comments any of you might have, either here or at the entries themselves. Happy reading!


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