Release Date: 01 March 2007
THE PEOPLES THEATER Translated from the French of ROMAIN HOLLAND Author of Jean-Christaphe, the pkys The Fourteenth of July and Danton, etc. etc. BY BARRETT H. CLARK Translator of Sardous Paine, Three Modern Plays from the French, etc., etc. 5 author of British and American Drama of To-day, etc. NEW YORK HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY 1918 TRANSLATORS PREFACE BEFORE the manuscript of this translation was sent to press it was forwarded to M. Rolland for his approval. As neither my publisher nor I knew the whereabouts of M. Rolland and as we had merely heard that he had left France not long after the publication of his war pamphlet Au-dessus de la Melee and was residing in a sort of exile, we were by no means sure that the typoscript or our letters would reach him. But we tried, sending them in care of his Paris publisher. M. Rolland was finally located, and we began a correspondence from which I shall use certain parts to illustrate this brief preface. In my original preface to the present volume I had referred to M. Rollands having retired from public life and being temporarily crushed, but the first letter I received convinced me beyond a doubt that he was far from it. He would never consent to the publication of any translation of his works without first seeing that it rendered faith fully the spirit of the original. He did not care even to discuss terms, and he added, by way of proof of his commercial disinterestedness, that the proceeds of the Nobel Prize, of which he was the recipient not long ago, and which amounted to over 40,000, he had spent in works of charity. iv TRANSLATORS PREFACE The manuscripts were therefore sent to him to Villeneuve, in Switzerland. I asked him to look themover, returning only the pages on which he wished to make corrections. A month later I re ceived a letter, from which I quote the most notable passages. It contained one page of the typoscript of The Peoples Theater from my brief preface. I ought first to explain that three years ago I spent an afternoon with a friend who had recently visited M. Holland. He told me at the time that the author of Au-dessus de la Melee seemed disheart ened by the weight of the great war. It was this hint, together with the fact that after diligent search I could find no record of anything new from his pen, that led me to write the paragraph to which our author refers in his letter. Let me quote a short passage from my original preface The Peoples Theater is more than the exposi tion of a theory it is autobiography of a sort Readers and lovers of Jean-Christophe will find in this less ambitious work certain hitherto unknown aspects of the soul of the creator of that monu mental work. True, this work of combat is youthful, but there is something attractive in the naive impetuosity with which the young revolution ary sets to work demolishing the idols of the past and attempting to dear the field for a saner, more robust, and healthier drama, and a theater where the workingman and his family may seek relaxation and find food for mind and soul. The years have brought maturity to Romain TRANSLATORS PREFACE . v Rolland and a touch of scepticism the weight of the great war has for the time being crushed him but a man who could so bravely combat prejudice, tradition, and hatred as he, need fear nothing from the future. The letter from M. Rolland, dated Villeneuve, May 15, 1918, reads as follows DEAR MONSIEUR Ireceived the proofs of your translations, which gave me great pleasure in read ing. They seem to offer a faithful rendering of the text. Perhaps certain expressions in Danton are occasionally softened a literal translation would, however, have rendered them harsher to Anglo-Saxon ears than the author intended, but I am not altogether sure about this. I see no important ob servation to make, and you may therefore proceed with the publication of the plays Danton and The Fourteenth of July. . . . Regarding the preface to The Peoples Theater, I thank you...
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