Camille and Other Plays A Peculiar Position; The Glass of Water; La Dame aux Camélias; Olympe's Marriage; A Scrap of Paper

Edited/Introduction by Stephen S. Stanton

Hill and Wang



Trade Paperback

352 Pages



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In this classic anthology—a standard in the literature of French drama for almost four decades—Stephen S. Stanton has assembled the nineteenth century's finest "well-made plays." The works of the master craftsman Eugène Scribe—including the farce A Peculiar Position and the political-historical comedy The Glass of Water—codified the structure for the pièce bien faite (well-made-play). His formula for skillfully manipulated intrigue was mastered by Alexander Dumas fils, Emile Augier, and Victorien Sardou; studied and adapted by Henry James and Henrik Ibsen; and famously derided by George Bernard Shaw. In an incisive introduction, Stanton fully diagrams these works and their seminal influence on modern theater. Whether Dumas's risqué study of the courtesan love in Camille, or Augier's counterattack on the dangers of sentimentalizing such passion in Olympe's Marriage, these plays not only brilliantly evoke Second Empire and Third Republic French culture but also introduce domestic themes and theatrical devices that have influenced Western drama for the last 150 years.


Praise for Camille and Other Plays

On Camille

"It is all champagne and tears—fresh perversity, fresh credulity, fresh passions, fresh pain."—Henry James, in The Scenic Art

On Scribe

". . . the practice of Scribe is a reminder that plot without much else makes better drama than much else without plot."—Eric Bentley, in What Is Theatre?

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Edited/Introduction by Stephen S. Stanton

  • Stephen S. Stanton was born in 1915 at Ann Arbor, Michigan. Graduating from Harvard in 1938, he taught English at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, and acquired a master's degree from the University of Michigan before he joined the Naval Reserve in 1942. After the war Mr. Stanton was an instructor in English at Williams College, the University of Michigan, and Barnard College. In 1955 he received his doctorate in English and comparative literature from Colombia University. He was professor of English in the College of Engineering, University of Michigan, until his retirement in 1982. Currently he is professor emeritus at the university.