“It is upon this one comedy that Balzac can lay any claims as a dramatic artist.”
—The New York Times
The literary event of the season has arrived—Mark Axelrod’s sublime translation of this obscure (but highly influential) comedy by Honoré de Balzac.
Originally presented under the title Mercodet or The Good Businessman, this play in three acts was perhaps the inspiration for the unseen character in Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.
102 years before Godot ‘s debut, Mercodet opened at the Theatre du Gymnase-Dramatique in Paris on August 24, 1851. Curiously enough, it featured a character named “Godeau” who never appears.
A comic coincidence? One of life’s little absurdities? Translator Mark Axelrod was determined to find out.
He met and corresponded with Beckett. And in Waiting for Godeau we present a rare, unpublished letter from Beckett in which the burning question is answered.
Or is it?
You be the judge.
Waiting for Godeau
by Honoré de Balzac
Translated from the French by Mark Axelrod
Absurdist Texts & Documents – No. 22
138 pp. Edition limited to 250 copies