Madame La Morte and Other Plays - The Transparent Doll (La Poupiae transparente) & The Voice of Blood (La Voix du sang) & Pleasure (Voluptia) & The Painted Woman (La Femme peinte) & The Prowler (le Riadeur)


Rachilde trans & edited Kiki Gounaridou & Frazer Lively

Published by John Hopkins University

Rachilde was the pseudonym of Marguerite Eymery Vallette (1860-1953), a woman of powerful personality who made her place at the very center of the Symbolist movement in fin-de-siècle France

Though relatively unknown in America, Rachilde had a significant influence on the course of French and Western literature and theater

She was a pioneer of antirealistic drama and the first to use the term "absurd" to characterize the new kind of theater that would be "a pretext for a dream"

She wrote dramas for the Théâtre d'Art and Théâtre de l'Oeuvre, as well as several novels in the decadent style, dealing boldly with issues that remain at the heart of modernist performance -- gender and androgyny, incest and pornography, as well as language, art, and psychology

Her salons at the avant-garde newspaper, Le Mercure de France, attracted international celebrities and young writers such as Alfred Jarry and Colette.

Rachilde's sexual politics and sardonic humor make her plays more interesting -- and more performable -- today than many of those of her more famous contemporaries

Where male Symbolists were obsessed with death, Rachilde explores the fearful thrill of sexuality

Topical, challenging, and all but lost to contemporary audiences, her extraordinary work offers the shock of relevance and freshness of discovery

The Plays in the Collection are ...

The Transparent Doll (La Poupiae transparente)

The Voice of Blood (La Voix du sang)

Pleasure (Voluptia)

The Painted Woman (La Femme peinte)

The Prowler (le Riadeur)


"In the realm of Modernism, if Gertrude Stein is the mother of us all, then Rachilde is our Auntie Mame. She entices us to venture ever farther in our literary experiments, particularly when it comes to sex. Her plays are startlingly original, extending the boundary markers for drama. It is good to have them available in English in such faithful versions." -- Laurence Senelick, Ph.D., Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory, Tufts University

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