Waiting for Godeau (original title : Mercadet, ou, Le Faiseur)

Written by Honoré de Balzac, translated by Mark Axelrod
Waiting for Godeau
Honoré de Balzac
Translated by Mark Axelrod
(Black Scat Books, October 2013)

Here is a literary event : Mark Axelrod’s sublime translation of the obscure (but highly influential) comedy by Honoré de Balzac: Waiting for Godeau. Axelrod’s faithful translation brings Balzac’s humor to life for contemporary readers.

Originally presented under the title Mercodet or The Good Businessman, this play in three acts was perhaps the inspiration for the unseen character in Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.

102 years before Godot ‘s debut, Mercodet opened at the Theatre du Gymnase-Dramatique in Paris on August 24, 1851. Curiously enough, it featured a character named “Godeau” who never appears.

A comic coincidence? One of life’s little absurdities? Translator Mark Axelrod was determined to find out.

He met and corresponded with Beckett. And in Waiting for Godeau we present a rare, unpublished letter from Beckett  in which the burning question is answered.

Or is it?

You be the judge.

More info : Black Scat Books

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