Monday, August 1, 1994

The Devil And the Good Lord And Two Other Plays

by Jean-Paul Sartre

"The Devil and the Good Lord," translated by Kitty Black. I loved it. Goetz is one of the inscrutable characters of literature: why does he act the way he does? Is he pretending to be Good just to do Evil more? But though the play is enigmatic, the message is clear. It doesn't matter if God is alive or dead, if we try to do absolute Good or total Evil. No matter what, we're all equal in that we're buffeted by the winds of fate regardless of what we might want to bring about.

"Kean," translated by Kitty Black. Apparently based on a Dumas play. I don't really know what to make of it. It's a fine comedy and refreshingly (for Sartre) non-communist, with a happy ending. It seems to be a satire of class relations and antiquated gender relations, with a little bit of Shakespearean object-of-desire switching thrown in for comedy. On top of that, it's a comment on the artificiality of almost all relations in life.

"Nekrasov," translated by Sylvia & George Leeson. It was a very cunning and biting farce on politics, journalism and the nature of man. A swindler pretends to be a Soviet official/defector: the consequences are far-reaching, realistic, and work to further the causes of the powers that be, despite what Georges, the crook, wants. Another great play.

four stars

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