Friday, 28 September 2012

Breaking the Butterfly

"I had marvelled up till then at the linguistic range of the average dramatic author who at a moment's notice 'adapts' you from the Russian, or the Scandinavian, or any other language that you choose.  I did not then know very much German and had to confess it.
 'That'll be all right,' said Daly.  'I'll send you the literal translation.'
 For translations, a shilling a folio used to be the price generally paid to the harmless necessary alien.

Somewhat against my conscience, I consented to bowdlerise Sudermann's play so as not to offend Mrs. Grundy, who then ruled the English and American stage.  Poor lady!  She must have done quite a lot of turning in her grave since then.  Jones went further when he adapted Ibsen's Doll's House.  In the last act Helmer took the forgery upon himself,  and the curtain went down on Nora flinging herself into his arms with the cry of 'Husband';  and the band played 'Charlie is my Darling'.  That was the first introduction of Ibsen to the British public.  'A charming author', was the verdict first passed on Ibsen in London."


My Life and Times  Jerome K. Jerome

Note: This English adaptation of A Doll's House was first performed in March 1884 as "Breaking the Butterfly".


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