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Beaumarchais, Jean-Pierre The Figaro Plays ISBN 13: 9780460878586

The Figaro Plays - Softcover

 
9780460878586: The Figaro Plays
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A wildly funny and modern translation by one of Britain's top humorists which loses none of Beaumarchais' satirical edge. Figaro, Beaumarchais' most famous character, was a key-factor in inciting the French people to revolt against their lazy aristocracy and the extravagant and selfish French monarchy. In The Barber of Seville (1775) he is a rebellious and scheming servant, caught up in a farcical plot in which lovers test each other. In The Marriage of Figaro (1784), Beaumarchais' anti-aristocratic sympathies come to the fore and Figaro whips the audience up into an indignant frenzy. Beaumarchais was, after all, the son of a humble watch-maker - although, as the late John Wells points out in his introduction, this also means that Beaumarchais' farcical plots and sub-plots work like clockwork. However, the mood of A Mother's Guilt (1792), the last play in the trilogy, is much darker. After the Revolution, Beaumarchais is uncertain what the future will bring. A trade dispute brought Be aumarchais to the notice of the court, and his good looks and eloquence quickly procured him advancement. He made the most of the opportunities available to him and soon acquired considerable wealth and social success. His Figaro plays reflect the dynamism of his life - and are perhaps most familiar to people today through Mozart's and Rossini's operatic adaptations.

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About the Author:
John Wells was born in 1936 and sadly died in January last year. He was an important member of that small but influential group centred around Private Eye magazine and Beyond the Fringe, which included Peter Cook, Richard Ingrams,John Bird, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller. He was clever, erudite, entertaining, funny, outrageous and abrasive - not to mention a keen linguist with adeep love of music. He taught French and German at Eton, before going on to co-edit Private Eye, so when Jonathan Miller asked him to translate Beaumarchais' Figaro Plays for a radio production, he was able to fuse a number of hispassions in a single project. It is these texts, revised just before his death, which are published here. It was to be his last book, a fitting tribute to the man and his legacy.Editor Biography John Leigh is a fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and a specialist in eighteenth-century French literatur
Review:
[Beaumarchais ] fame rests on Le Barbier de Seville (1775) and Le Mariage de Figaro (1784), the only French plays which his stage-struck century bequeathed to the international repertoire. But his achievement has been adulterated, for Beaumarchais has long been the brand name of a product variously reprocessed by Mozart, Rossini, and the score or so librettists and musicians who have perpetuated his plots, his characters, and his name. The most intriguing question of all has centered on his role as catalyst of the Revolution. Was his impertinent barber the Sweeney Todd of the Ancien Régime, the true begetter of the guillotine? [. . .]
Beaumarchais plays have often seemed to need the same kind of shoring up as his reputation, as though they couldn t stand on their own without a scaffolding of good tunes. Yet, as John Wells lively and splendidly speakable translations of the Barber, the Marriage, and A Mother s Guilt demonstrate, they need assistance from no one.
[Beaumarchais] thought of the three plays as a trilogy. Taken together, they reflect, as John Leigh s commentaries make clear, the Ancien Régime s unstoppable slide into revolution. --David Coward, in The London Review of Books

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  • PublisherOrion Pub Co
  • Publication date1999
  • ISBN 10 0460878581
  • ISBN 13 9780460878586
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages1000
  • EditorLeigh John
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