J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

For Lovers of a Good Beaumarchais

Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais is known for two things. First, he coordinated the initially secret French program to supply the nascent U.S. of A. with money and arms early in the Revolutionary War. (Here’s the C.I.A. version of that history.)

At the same time, he was writing The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro, two somewhat subversive plays that soon became more famous as the source for Mozart’s adaptation. I recall reading the first in school at some point and liking it, though I haven’t gone back to the whole series.

At Kickstarter, Talia Felix is inviting people to support her project to translate all of Beaumarchais’s plays from the French and release the new English texts into the public domain.

1 comment:

EJWitek said...

Actually, The Marriage of Figaro was adapted by Lorenzo da Ponte who translated it into Italian and removed the political references. Da Ponte is a fascinating character who later emigrated to the United States to escape his creditors in London and ran a grocery store and distillery in Pennsylvania. Those enterprises failed and he moved to New York where he became the first professor of Italian Literature at Columbia. Born a Jew, he converted to Catholicism and became the first Roman Catholic priest appointed to the faculty at Columbia. He died at roughly ninety years of age a naturalized American citizen. His funeral in New York was enormous.