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Two Plays by Denis Diderot

The Illegitimate Son and The Father of the Family- Translated with an Introduction by Kiki Gounaridou and John Hellweg


Kiki Gounaridou and John Hellweg

Denis Diderot (1713-1784) was one of the French philosophers and writers of the Enlightenment. This volume contains the first English translations of his plays, The Illegitimate Son and The Father of the Family. These complex and very entertaining plays delve into the attitudes of the middle-class, bourgeois society and reveal an eighteenth-century «suburbia» that populates dramatic and suspenseful situations and settings. The translations are vivid and contemporary and bring the plays alive to early twenty-first-century stage and culture.


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Denis Diderot’s The Illegitimate Son (translated by Kiki Gounaridou) 7


the Illegitimate Son (1757) A Play by Denis Diderot in Five Acts and in Prose Translated by Kiki Gounaridou interior_gounaridou 7 2/1/11 10:52 AM interior_gounaridou 8 2/1/11 10:52 AM the Illegitimate Son DR A M AT I S PE R SONA E LYSIMOND, father of Dorval and Rosalie DORVAL, Lysimond’s illegitimate son, and friend of Clairville ROSALIE, daughter of Lysimond JUSTINE, Rosalie’s friend ANDRE, Lysimond’s servant CHARLES, Dorval’s valet CLAIRVILLE, friend of Dorval and Rosalie’s lover CONSTANCE, a young widow, Clairville’s sister ACT ONE Scene I A living room. DORVAL (Alone.) (He is sitting in an armchair. He hangs over one of the chair’s arms as if to sleep. Soon he sits up and looks at his watch.) It is almost six o’clock. (Pause.) I cannot sleep. (He picks up a book, opens it absentmindedly, and closes it almost immediately.) I read but I do not understand. interior_gounaridou 9 2/1/11 10:52 AM 10 Two Plays by Denis Diderot: The Illegitimate Son and The Father of the Family I cannot escape myself… I must leave here… Leave here. But I am trapped here. I am in love… And whom do I love?… Unfortunately, I know the answer and that is why I am here. Charles. Charles. Scene II DORVAL, CHARLES (CHARLES thinks that his master has asked for his things. He brings them and places them on an armchair.) CHARLES Monsieur, do you need anything else? DORVAL My horses; my carriage. CHARLES Ah, we are...

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