Tôt ou tard (Sooner or Later)1

      ...a comedy that is by no means perfect, nor correct, nor even logical and which, with a certain perversity and boastfulness, seems at many points to pride itself on not being so, or at least to say or to give the impression that it cares about as much whether it is or it isn't as a man of the cloth would for a tart, but in which there are three scenes... of the very first order, that is to say one more than in The Parisienne and two more than in M. Poirier's Son-in-law2... and in the rest, and throughout, and from the very bad parts, of which there are many, a host of things that are profound, dainty, robust and let's use the word new, to which Donnay3 would have subscribed but would not have written and which have enchanted me to the letter... The comedy, and here lies its great mistake... is called Sooner or Later. Ah, upon my word, that is absurd, it is idiotic, it is inexcusable... that is the very title of three quarters of the plot devices in contemporary theatre...

1. Excerpt from a 3 page unpublished manuscript sold at auction in 1986, present whereabouts unknown. Mentioned in Bulletin d'informations proustiennes, no 18, 1987. It appears to be a review from about 1900-1903 intended for Le Figaro of a play called Tôt ou tard playing at L'Odéon. This is presumably the Tôt ou tard by Hippolyte-Jules Demolière (1802-1877) and Charles Henri Ladislas Laurençot (1805-1862) which first appeared in 1843.

2. La Parisienne play by Henry François Becque, 1885. Le Gendre de M. Poirier, play by Émile Augier and Jules Sandeau, 1854.

3. (Charles) Maurice Donnay (1859-1945), French dramatist.

 


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