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Richard Darlington

drame/play, pub:1831

Five-act prose drama. Part of Théâtre complet.


From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     A prose drama in three acts and eight tableaux.
     Dumas composed this in collaboration with MM. Goubaux and Beudin.
     The prologue is distinctly borrowed from Walter Scott's "The Surgeon's Daughter," as Dumas freely admits in his "Mémoires." After this, however, it takes an entirely new aspect and has no connection with the other work.
     The prologue, as epigraph, bears an extract from the "Adelphi " of Terence.
     A masterly piece, in spite of the strangeness of some of the scenes to English eyes. It possesses one of Dumas' most effective scenes in that where Jenny is flung over the precipice. For long its author was at a loss how to dispose of his heroine, and even when the thought of this method occurred there were grave difficulties, for it is not easy to so treat a struggling woman before an audience ; as he says, it is so easy for tragedy to become in appearance comedy. How he managed must always remain an example, a supreme example of his thorough understanding of the stage, its needs and its limitations. It has been authoritatively stated that on the first night the actress playing Jenny was herself terrified, and that women in the audience screamed, while men felt suffocated.
     On several occasions during that first night, his two collaborators begged Dumas to take the full credit of the play, so greatly did they realise that it was he alone who had made it the success which it was.
     First performed at the Porte Saint Martin Theatre on the 10th of December, 1831.
     Original edition: "Richard Darlington, a drama in three acts, in prose, preceded by ' The Doctor's House,' a prologue, by Alexandre Dumas." Paris, J. N. Barba, 1832, 8vo., pp. 132. According to Quérard, the greater number of the copies bore the name of Dinaux (the stage designation assumed in collaboration by Dumas' two assistants).
     It fills part of Vol. III. of the "Théâtre Complet" issued by Charpentier, bearing the date 1834.
     It is now to be found in Vol. II. of the 15 Vol. series, and in Vol. III. of that in 25 Vols., as issued by Calmann-Lévy ("Théâtre Complet").
     According to Frédérick-Lemaitre, the famous originator of the role of Richard Darlington, Dumas, in later years, projected, and indeed wrote, the first few scenes of a drama which was to have been a sequel to this play. It would have been an interesting work, one thinks.

         Parody :—
     "Piffard Droldeton," in three acts, preceded by "La Mansarde de la Sage-femme," a prologue, by Dumersan, Brazier and Saint-Hilaire; first performed at the Odéon Théâtre on December 31st, 1831. This piece was not printed.

         References :—
     Dumas: "Mes Mémoires," Chapters CCIX., CCX., CCXVII. and CCXXXVI., note.
     Lemaitre (Frédérick): "Souvenirs," pp. 119-122, 308-309.
     Parigot: "Le Drame d'Alexandre Dumas," pp. 72-73, 105, 344-353.
     Lecomte: "Alexandre Dumas," pp. Ill, 113.
     Séchan: "Homme de Théâtre," pp. 18-26.
     Parran: "Bibliographie d'A. Dumas," pp. 22-23.
     Quérard: "Supercheries Littéraires Dévoilées," Vol. I, Columns 1060-1061.
     Gourmeaux: "Alexandre Dumas," pp. 13-25.
     Glinel: "Alexandre Dumas et Son Œuvre," pp. 301-304, 306-307.
     Blaze de Bury: "Alexandre Dumas," pp. 92-94.
     "Le Monte Cristo."—"Théâtres," January 13th, 1859, pp. 631-632.

         English Articles, etc. :—
     The "Knickerbocker Magazine" for March, 1834, contained an article on Dumas' Dramatic Genius, and included a lengthy extract from "Richard Darlington." For some unknown reason the name of Jenny is here changed to that of Julia.

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