Plays - Vol. 1
Plays - Vol. 1
Jean Giraudoux, born in 1882 in the city of Bellac in the department of Haute Vienne in central (southerly) France, was the outstanding dramatist of that now "hallowed" epoch between the two wars.
He was a Normalien - a student of the École Normale Supérieure, that institution of higher education at which only the most brilliant students who aim at a professorship or the diplomatic service are given their final academic instruction.
Shortly after the First World War, in which he was wounded, Giraudoux, first a sergeant and then a second lieutenant, began his diplomatic career - a career he pursued for most of his life. During the early days of the Second World War, Giraudoux was appointed Commissioner of Information and Propaganda. Much of Giraudoux's work was written in the morning before he left to perform his governmental duties. A friend tells of visiting Giraudoux in the writer's office where instead of busying himself with official documents he was occupied composing a novel on French political life.
Giraudoux began writing plays in 1928 when he was forty-six. From 1909 to the time of the production of his first play he had written nine volumes consisting of novels, sketches and short stories and three other volumes of essays.
His iridescent style was often referred to as being the literary equivalent of impressionism in painting. Hailed by the majority of critics and derided by a few, Giraudoux's manner attracted more attention than the sparse narrative content of his novels. It was Louis Jouvet, the period's most celebrated actor-director, who urged Giraudoux to turn dramatist. His first play Siegfried was a signal success. He remained a dramatist for the rest of his days.