Thursday, April 10, 2014

More than you need to know: Jean Anouilh

Sometimes I just get a bit obsessed over something, and I just have to run with it. After pondering the fact that libraries have started to discard Jean Anouilh, I quickly became quite interested in the fact that Hill and Wang and Methuen sort of had competing editions of Anouilh, presumably with different translators. There is almost no overlap between Methuen's Collected Plays (from the mid 1960s) and the two fairly recent volumes they put out in the late 1980s and 1990s. In contrast, the Hill and Wang are reprints of two volumes that came out in 1958 and then a 3rd volume in the late 1960s. Hill and Wang have occasionally published single titles, but have not as of yet offered a 4th volume of plays. The Hill and Wang set is certainly cheaper to track down than the Methuen books. It appears both publishers stop short with only plays published up to the early 1960s.

I decided to try to put a spreadsheet together to help me keep track of which plays had been translated, so that if I do decide to track them down at the library or bookshop, I won't get the same plays over and over, which I have been known to do if I am not careful.

It seems evident to me that Anouilh's later plays are only occasionally translated into English and/or kept in print. Perhaps only 1/3 have a reasonable English translation, with his final staged play (Chers zoiseauxs) not available at all. Maybe his sensibility is really out of fashion, but literary fashion is a bit cyclical, and it wouldn't completely surprise me to see a bit of an Anouilh renewal in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment