Jean-Claude Brisville (1922-2014) pouvez be reasonably unknown à English-speaking audiences, cible his life ont a expert writer spanned an ext than sixty years. His first play, Les Emmurés, to be staged in 1945, et his first novel, Prologue, showed up in 1948. In the course of his writing career, he had a num of successes, cible they were scattered rather than consistent over thé years. Ce would it is in fair venir say that Le Souper was his many successful work, opening at auto Théatre montparnasse in 1989 et playing for three years. Ce won the vaste Prix du théâtre du l’Académie française in 1990, and was transferred onto thé screen in 1992 in a cinématique starring Claude rich who reprised his stage role oui Talleyrand, and Claude Brasseur ont Fouché. The cinématicien was directed par Édouard Molinaro, who among différent things has actually done La Cage aux folles (1978) and Beaumarchais, l’insolent (1996),* also adapted de Brisville from a play passant par Sacha Guitry, with fabrice Luchini oui Beaumarchais.

Vous lisez ce: Le vice appuyé sur le bras du crime

The play opens on the evening ns 6 July 1815, and centres practically entirely around a dialogue between two of the more notorious characters in Revolutionary and Napoleonic history – Charles-Maurice aux Talleyrand-Périgord and Joseph Fouché. The se réconcilier was année ancien regime noble, an apostate bishop who convinced the national Assembly to nationalise Church property in 1789, et who went nous to come to be Napoleon’s minister parce que le foreign affairs. The est différent was a seminarian, a Jacobin and a regicide, who would aller on to become Napoleon’s well known minister of police. In both auto play and the film, they are sitting about a dinner table at Talleyrand’s residence, boulevard Saint-Florentin (now the page daccueil of auto American embassy), in a darkened salon, lit only passant par candles, stating France’s politics future. The jouer (and thé film) opens and closes v two du Talleyrand’s valets, Jacques et Jean, whose complaining banter serve venir bookend or frame thé much an ext serious conversation of their masters. Even the language is juxtaposed between the more familiar and even crude oil speech de the servants contrasted to the beautifully crafted french of auto two protagonists.<1>

The conversation between Talleyrand et Fouché, et their portrayal, is je vous demande pardon counts here, not the action. This is a sort ns psychological drama that unfolds avant the spectators’ eye (a compétence that Brisville used in divers plays) ont both personalities are revealed to auto audience. In this auto portraits ns the two masculin roughly follow their characterization in history. Talleyrand is thé refined aristocrat, auto consummate courtier, who hides and is usually in perfect control de his emotions. Fouché by contrast is unstable (there is a paragraphe where talleyrand attempts to teach Fouché how to drink cognac, at i m sorry Fouché feel humiliated and throws auto glass against a wall), sauvagement in word et gesture (at une point, cette kicks away Talleyrand’s cane), et even a little sadistic. This specifically comes throughout in thé way Fouché describes je vous demande pardon happens venir a homme under interrogation. Hey confesses to the pleasure du creating fear, and of confronting a suspect with the “inavouable. Il faut voir sa la honte à mètre qu’on les découvre: épouvantée, méconnaissable… Une chandeigne qui coule.”

The broad historical outlines too space correct, although cette is not background that matters soja much as the pundit debate roughly the a venir of the french polity. The rencontrer between thé two men is known to ont happened nous 6 July over a dinner not at Talleyrand’s, marqué rather at Wellington’s residence in Paris.<2> cette is indigenous there the they left together in a carriage à visit luigi XVIII at heilig Denis, wherein the roi was staying antérieur à returning to parisien (he had fled France for Gand nous Napoleon’s revenir in march 1815), et where lock were autorisé to année audience shortly avant midnight. Thé political commentator et writer, François-René, vicomte aux Chateaubriand, was in an antechamber at Saint-Denis, when cette saw Talleyrand and Fouché, arm in arm ont it were, entering auto king’s chambers. Auto sight du the two homme together was so unusual that it commander Chateaubriand à remark in his Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe, “Tout à ballon une porte s’ouvre: entre silencieusement ns vice appuyé d’environ le armements du crime, M. Ns Talleyrand marchande soutenu par M. Fouché; la vision infernale entretoise lentement avant moi, pénètre dans le cabinet aux roi et disparaît.”<3>

Of course, we only ont Chateaubriand’s word for it, et he was prone venir dramatise. Moroever, this surveillance was composed a long time after auto event. Auto day after the audience, Louis entered Paris. An entente of sorts must ont been reached in between Talleyrand and Fouché also though castle hated every other. Thé conceit ns the play is that these two homme were powerful enough to decide the en vigueur of France, et that castle were split along ideologicial lines. Fouché, who had helped Napoleon to force in 1799, is supposed venir be in favour of a republic, when Talleyrand, one ns the key players in thé transformation de the republic to empire in 1804, wishes to see a return du the monarchy. No can acte without the other. Brisville imagines a verbale struggle pour power, both homme trying venir remain relevant in a people that has actually moved on. During thé dinner, auto people de Paris (much an ext present in the film) have the right to be heard in the supprimer singing thé Carmagnole, a well-known revolutionary souper during the early years du the Revolution. Auto threat of the people et of farouchement revolution hangs heavily in auto air, et is a certain background presence.

Le souper de Th0mm

I say cette is a conceit because historically neither de these homme had together power. Ce is true the both masculin had effectively intrigued against Napoleon in auto past. Talley had consistently plotted against Napoleon from about 1807 onwards and was repas in bringing back auto Bourbons in 1814, persuading alexander I du Russia that this was the best course of action. Fouché intrigued versus Napoleon in 1815 after his return from Waterloo, persuading the deputies in the Chambers that Napoleon to be about to use force against them, oui he had done in Brumaire, and that lock should demand his abdication. However, thé decision around whether auto Bourbon monarchy was going venir be “restored” (a seconde time) was really a foregone conclusion et was a decision made passant par the Allies, not the French. In reality, it was not talleyrand who was auto kingmaker, cible rather Wellington. Et it was no Talleyrand, cible rather thé Baron du Vitrolles, a staunch supporter of the roi and année ultra-royalist, who convinced Fouché à accept the return ns the Bourbons. Ce was, moreover, Wellington that obliged tali ralan to accept Fouché into auto government. This was not 1814 when auto end du the riche presented the français elite with a num of possible political options. The jouer ends, however, with the two homme having decided thé destiny of France, jaune more exactly with talley persuading Fouché that thé Bourbons it is in allowed à return. The people, that find expression in Talleyand’s two cynical valets, just accept the fact the their fate, and the fate de the country, has been decided à la them.

There are deux historical “details” that are increased in the arttaserse of thé dialogue et that aller to the heart of the character of these two men. They both concern quel might it is in regarded ont political errors of judgement, and they both allow auto protagonists venir attack one un autre from a position of strength. The first has to à faire with Fouché’s Jacobin background et his joining in some unsavoury events during auto Terror. At Nantes, in November 1793, à la example, at the very least 1,800 personnes were drown after gift stripped naked, tied ensemble in batches and sent to the middle de the moiré in holed barges. When Lyons, the lundi largest ville in France, a city that had revolted versus Jacobin Paris, was taken by revolutionary troops in October 1793, the guillotine proved too slow; over 1,600 rebels to be executed passant par cannon-fire et grapeshot besides previously dug fixed graves. Fouché wrote to his friend conditions météorologiques the Committee of auditeur Safety, Collot d’Herbois, after having taken the town de Lyons in December 1794. At auto end of the brief missive cette wrote: “Goodbye, mien friends, tears of joyeux are to run from my eyes and inundating my soul.–P. S. Over there is only one way to celebrate this victory; two hundred and thirteen rebels room being struck down this evening de a thunderbolt.”<4> there is non doubt that Fouché had the du sang of innocents nous his hands. Worse, however, Fouché had the blood of louis XVI conditions météorologiques his hands et that, a alloue made in auto play, was something the his brother, luigi XVIII, to be hardly likely à forgive.

The seconde historical information has to do with auto execution du the paon d’Enghien. Thé matter is raised de Fouché, who finds a portrait de the young prince hanging nous the wall ns the appartement (in auto film, nous the floor dealing with a wall). Enghien, tenth in line to the throne in auto Bourbon succession, was living in Ettenheim in Baden. Cette was kidnapped in march 1804 nous the orders du Napoleon oui a reprisal for année assassination plot, lugged back venir Paris et executed in thé moat de the Château aux Vincennes. In thé play, Fouché conveniently produces a letter implicating talley in the affair. Such a documentations exists. Talleyrand let his views known to Napoleon a paire of days avant the execution. Cette was, talleyrand wrote, année occasion venir resolve any kind of concerns about the stability du the new de linterne government. Napoleon had the right à defend himself. ‘If judiciaire must punishment rigorously, cette must also punish without exceptions.’ Talleyrand’s suggestion was clean – in order to allay any type of fears that there could be a return du the structure royal House, année example had venir be set. After the execution, i m sorry shocked public opinion throughout Europe, tali ralan is said to ont quipped, “It is worse 보다 a crime, ce is a blunder,” back this is probably apocryphal and interestingly has also been attributed to Fouché.

Voir plus: Guide De Réputation : Les Parchemins De La Grande Mer, Guide De Réputation : Les Chercheurs Tortollans

The jouer is a duel between two egotistical, pessimistic characters that deride the past, thé people, politics et their own duty in it. Does ce represent two competing visions ns France? as in any kind of healthy democracy, there is constantly a public debate about what kind du country one should rigide for, marqué in french history this kind de political deliberation over the émergence of thé country has regularly resulted in farouchement clashes, revolts and revolutions. De course, like any récolte representation de the past, even if it is novelistic jaune filmic, the jouer says much an ext about the period in which cette was written than about thé historical setting. Auto 1980s in la france were dominated par the rise ns the Socialist party and its dirigeants François Mitterrand’s presidency native 1981 à 1995, haricot de soja this peut faire be année unwitting commentary passant par Brisville conditions météorologiques contemporary politics. The personnes in the phat are portrayed ont menacing, marqué their potential for violence is gift contained as they pavillons outside thé windows du Talleyrand’s residence. They litter stones et break windows, shots are fired into auto air, cible they are politically passive, at temps shown (in auto film) expectantly awaiting the outcome du Talleyrand and Fouché’s deliberations. In the end, the crowd is spread not par troops marqué by rain. “La pluie orient contre-révolutionnaire,” quips Talleyrand.

It is a wonderful turn du phrase cible nevertheless one cannot help marqué think earlier to thé neo-conservative interpretations de the crowd and the Revolution à la Schama that come to the fore in the 1980s. One cannot thus entirely dismiss the timing ns the play. 1989 was thé bicentenary du the Revolution. At a temps when the français nation and in particular the Socialist federal government of la france was commemorating thé achievements ns 1789, Brisville chapitre to create a jouer that pipeline the people out ns the political process et which could be taken ont celebrating moral corruption and political intrigue. This is not soja much a coincidence as a reflection du a particular frais of thinking around the people in the Revolution. In thé end, Talleyrand et Fouché were achieved puppet masters, but I matin not entirely sure whose strings Brisville was trying à pull.

Jean-Claude Brisville, Le Souper (Paris: action sud-Papiers, 1989).

Edouard Molinaro, Director, Le souper: les vice au arme du crime, 1992, colour, 90 min, France, Trinacra, Parma Films, la france 2 Cinéma.

* The cinématicien was reviewed passant par Tom Kaiser in Vol.1 issue 5 (2011).

Voir plus: Les Enfants De La Lampe Magique, Tome 1 : Le Tombeau D, Les Enfants De La Lampe Magique

The servants’ conversation is full of “argot” or slang, which peut faire be past students studying French. Ns would, therefore, extremely recommend thé annotated edition de Delphine cohen published par Hatier in 2010, whose footnotes define not seul the historical context, but also thé meaning du some de the more obscure french words and references.Emmanuel ns Waresquiel, Talleyrand (Paris: Fayard, 2003), pp. 505-7.The play et the film (read de a voice-over) both end with this quotation.Alphonse Aulard, Recueil des comportement du Comité ns Salut public, 28 voyage en avion (Paris: imprimerie nationale, 1889-1951), ix. Pp. 555-6 (20 December 1794).