Immediately following the premier of Molière s Don Juan in 1665, Louis XIV s censors started to tear this incendiary text apart, and they didn t stop there. They never let the play alone and the original text was lost particularly the hot material removed and replaced with inoffensive material often written by the censors themselves. The edition published in 1682 in Paris under the censors watchful eyes cannot be considered authentic, yet it s been the source for almost all English language translations of this thrilling text. Stephen Wadsworth, who brought the supposedly untranslatable plays of Marivaux brilliantly to life in English, has now made a translation and adaptation of Don Juan based on a text printed in Amsterdam (in French) in 1683, outside the purview of the French censors. That text, published in French for the first timesince 1683 only as recently as 1999, sheds light on where and how the play was censored and has inspired Wadsworth to a vivid re-imagining of Don Juan s shocking original text, complete with a new verse prologue. It wasn t the sexual exploits of Don Juan that were curtailed by the censors, it was his frank, rational worldview that prompted him to speak openly and fearlessly about church and state and the hypocrisy that infected both. Moliere s Don Juan exploded into the Age of Reason long before its time a savage, witty prophet, reckless and apologetic, and right. His debates with his servant Sganarelle, as adapted by Wadsworth, thrillingly capture both the troubled spirit of Molière s time as well as the fabulous theatricality of Molière s theater. The text is accompanied by articles on the history and style of the play.
Literature-Fiction, Drama, United-States,