Alfred de Musset (1810-1857) was a poet, novelist, and dramatist and, from 1833 to 1835, the lover of the novelist George Sand. David Coward is a professor emeritus of French at the University of Leeds. Winner of the Scott-Moncrieff Translation Prize, he has also translated Moliere for Penguin Classics.
Reviews - What do customers think about Lorenzaccio (Petits Classiques Larousse)?
Of course, it is in French -- this is the French section ! May 25, 2006
Lorenzaccio is a great play. Musset's book sometimes looks more like a novel than a play. Actually, the play was not staged until after Musset's death and I think it has never been played integrally. Indeed, the play is very long, with endless monologues, and exuberant.
Briefly, Lorenzaccio is about Lorenzo de Medicis, cousin of Alexander, Duke and tyran of Florence. Lorenzo shares Alexander's debauchery, but we soon realize that it is only a way for him to gain his cousin's confidence in order to murder him. Lorenzo wants to kill Alexander to bring freedom to Florence, but he ends up realizing that his action is useless and will not change anything.
It is definitely a sad play, picturing the struggle of this young man between cynism and dispair. Around him, the (numerous) other characters are also struggling with their own obsesssions and troubles. It is also a very critical play. Musset uses anachronisms to create a parallel between Lorenzo's time and the XIXth century. Through Lorenzo's story, he denounces the cowardice of the people and the "society of the spectacle". But the critics is definitely not the most interesting part of the book : Musset was a young idealistic man and his "commentaries" lacks depth and restraint. What makes Lorenzaccio a French classic is the baroc beauty of the writing, the excessive tragedy of the story and the passionate characters -- all the ingredients of the Romantic movement. The monologues are just so beautiful that I used to recite them to myself.
Just buy it, and if you cannot read French, look for an English version...
Its in French stupid! Dec 19, 2002
Silly me, I ordered this book (I'd heard the play via the internet from the BBC and wanted to read it) not realizing that it was in its original language. IF you read French (I don't, despite the efforts of teachers many years ago) I'm sure it would be enjoyable.