Seven Plays

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Oberon Books, 2005 - Drama - 279 pages
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Best known as a poet in the English-speaking world, Alfred de Musset (1810-57) is regarded in his native France as perhaps the most significant dramatist of the first half of the nineteenth century. Ibsen admired his work, Turgenev imitated it, while Scribe even thought some of Musset's comedies funnier than his own.
The seven plays in this collection share a light-hearted tone, though with occasional and unexpected moments of seriousness. In Marianne, a confirmed cynic intercedes with a married woman on behalf of his best friend. In the eponymous hero of the modern 'fairy tale' Fantasio, by turns imaginative, abrupt and perceptive, Musset provides us with a compelling self-portrait. Don't Trifle with Love shows the dangerous strategems of two childhood sweethearts, supposedly destined for marriage. In The Candlestick, an infatuated clerk is set up as a decoy by his employer's young wife and her lover. The one-act plays A Diversion, A Door Must be Open or Shut and You Can't Think of Everything deal, in witty, epigrammatic style, with various aspects of romance: a wife and her friend test her husband's fidelity, or lack of it; a man wants to propose to his bantering, blase hostess; and a couple in love, one absent-minded, the other forgetful, tries to concentrate long enough to get married.

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