Lot n° 204
5000 - 7000 EUR
SAND George (1804-1876)
MANUSCRIPT autograph, [Plutus, Acts III-V, 1862]; 86 pages in-4 (27 x 21 cm).
Partial manuscript of this play freely adapted from Aristophanes for the Théâtre de Nohant.
Sand completed Plutus, "Etude d'après le théâtre antique," in five acts and a prologue, on November 15, 1862; the play appeared in 1863 in the January 1, 1863 issue of the Revue des deux mondes, and was collected the following year in the Théâtre de Nohant volume. Freely inspired by Aristophanes' Plutos and Lucien's Timon, it composed a socio-political allegory, mixed with a love story, on the merit of work as opposed to idle wealth.
The play features Plutus, god of wealth, the landowner Chrémyle, the god Mercury, Poverty, Bactis and Carion, slaves of Chrémyle, and Myrto, Chrémyle's daughter, in love with Bactis. Bactis and Myrto will eventually follow the advice of Poverty.
The play, written for the Nohant theatre whose actors "wanted to dress in Greek", is dedicated to Alexandre Manceau, Sand's companion and unofficial director of the troupe. But the play was not performed in 1862; Sand will work again in Plutus in December 1868, and will then make costumes, but, after a rehearsal of two acts: "it doesn't work, we give up" (Agendas, 9-12 December 1868).
The present manuscript gathers the last three acts of the play.
It is written in blue ink on the front of double leaves arranged in notebooks: act III (24 ff., plus 4 detached ff.), act IV (36 ff.), act V (21 ff.). Sand has reserved a margin on the left in which she has written didascalia or additions. The manuscript presents a few erasures and corrections, but numerous and important variants in relation to the published text. One can think that this is a first version, before copying and corrections for the definitive text, of the last three acts, the prologue and the first two acts having required little reworking. The scenes are not yet numbered.
The 4 detached leaves at the end of Act III come from another manuscript, without the margin, and give a conclusion of the act quite different from the last two scenes (Vii and Viii) of the edition, the tirade of Poverty partly scratched and redone.
The play ends with the union of Myrto and Carion, consented by
Chrémyle, who declares in the manuscript: "Let us go with sacrifices to disarm the wrath of Jupiter, and thou... (to Poverty) you whose counsel I have despised inspires patience, wisdom, resignation..." to which Poverty replies: "And courage! I told you that you would remind me!". The text of the edition is different
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