Paris, Briasson, n.d. .
12mo [164 x 98 mm] of (2) ll., 115 pp., (1) p. of approval. Bound in burgundy morocco, spine ribbed, double gilt fillet on the covers, gilt inner border, gilt over marbled edges. Binding signed Chambolle-Duru.
Edition published the year of the original of Marivaux’s most accomplished comedy, played for the first time on January 23rd, 1730 by the Italian comedians at the Hotel de Bourgogne.
“Lucid spectator of a changing world Marivaux made himself an inventor of new ideas and languages. This is what he called ‘thinking as a man’”.
“While respecting the decorum codes of the time – the nobles will end up together and the ‘lower people’ separate – Marivaux, in this comedy with a brilliant dialog, returns the established order, troubles the prejudices and inverses the relations masters-servants”.
“Nothing simpler than this: having been engaged to a young girl he only knows by name by his parents, the very seducing Dorante judges that he should better study her spirit before committing to her. When she finally learns that, even as a chambermaid, Dorante only whishes to marry her, Sylvie swoons with cheerfulness. They are sure, now, to know each perfectly, sure of their hearts and sure to be made for each other…” “This romantic comedy is an example of control. Its economy works perfectly from the beginning to the end. Its simplicity of action is a token of complexity in the analysis of feelings. Everywhere, the tone is so right that we couldn’t find better. We are thinking about a ballet where every move from one of the lovers would leave a wound on the other one’s flesh”.
“This gracious play, in three acts, in prose, offers one of the main kinds of this style full of delicacy, affectation and mannered spirit, which characterizes Marivaux’s style, so admired at his time, so denigrated since, under the name of ‘light-hearted banter’ (marivaudage), and to which have tried to go back to some authors nowadays, not without some success. Two charming comedians, Mademoiselle Mars and Madame Arnould Plessy, have helped putting these comedies back into fashion for many years, and thanks to their admirable talent, they were quite applauded there”. (Le Petit, Bibliographie des Editions originales, p. 501).
Amongst the notable directions of this play, we should mention: – Jean Meyer’s direction in 1973 at the Théâtre des Célestins in Lyon and the direction in Chinese by Jacques Lassalle in 2005 in Beijing’s Chaoyang Theater.
A precious copy, very pure and wide-margined (height 164 mm), of one of Marivaux’s most sought-after comedies.