- Œuvres complètes: théâtre, tome i: 1840–1852 by George Sand
In April 2012, Nigel Harkness introduced French Studies readers to the ‘monumentality’ of publishing scholarly critical editions of the complete works of George Sand, as undertaken by publisher Honoré Champion and directed by Béatrice Didier (French Studies, 66 (2012): 250–52). The two volumes prepared by Annie Brudo are the first to feature George Sand’s theatre. Since the eight plays found here are all included in the recent Indigo et Côté-Femmes inexpensive, bare-bones reissue of Sand’s theatre (although Brudo lists only three of the eight), it is not the texts themselves that provide the value of Brudo’s work. Rather, it is her commendable efforts to gather pertinent materials, such as manuscripts from the Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris, the Archives nationales, and the Institut de France; her itemization of variants; previously unpublished passages (for example, the third act of Claudie reproduced in volume ii); censorship reports; and full texts of critical articles on each play by the likes of Théophile Gautier and Jules Janin. However, Brudo’s exploitation of these materials leaves much to be desired. What alerts the knowledgeable reader to the problems is the Bibliography, which stops abruptly in 2009, five years before publication. Moreover, from that year, only two articles appear, including one of Brudo’s own articles. The most significant missing item is Olivier Bara’s remarkable Le Sanctuaire des illusions: George Sand et le théâtre (Paris: Presses universitaires Paris–Sorbonne, 2010), in which he discusses all eight plays along with Sand’s entire theatrical production, her drama criticism, as well as her theatre-themed and dialogue novels. Bara is present in Brudo’s bibliography, but with only one article from his extensive list of publications. Another top Sand theatre scholar, Shira Malkin, is excluded, with no reference even to the volume on Sand’s theatre that Malkin edited for George Sand Studies, 27 (2008), containing articles specifically on François le Champi and Claudie. Among the pre-eminent Sand theatre specialists, only Catherine Masson is appropriately represented, with four of her articles. One of Brudo’s most often cited sources dates from 1935; Dorrya Fahmi’s George Sand, auteur dramatique (Geneva: Droz) was certainly a pioneering study, and one of its kind until Gay Manifold [Smith] published George Sand’s Theater Career fifty years later (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1985). Over the past decades — and especially in this century — an active group of Sand scholars has been working on her theatre, a fact Brudo does not seem to know. The title page seems implicitly to acknowledge these issues by announcing ‘introduction, établissement du texte et notes par Annie Brudo’, instead of using the label of the preceding Champion volumes, ‘édition critique par […]’. Brudo has done a great deal of work to assemble important materials, but had she collaborated with one of [End Page 401] those who have written extensively on Sand’s theatre in recent years — or had she consulted more of their writings — she might have produced a true scholarly edition.