Les Avariés

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Les Avariés ("The damaged") is a French play in three acts by Eugène Brieux (1858–1932)[1].

The original text

A controversial drama about the social consequences of syphilis, it was banned by the censor in France, due to the medical details of syphilis it contained, and was therefore first read privately by the author at the Théâtre Antoine in 1901. The ban was later lifted. Published in Paris by P-V Stock in 1902.

Performed in French in Brussels in 1910.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into English as Damaged Goods by John Pollock (1878-1963)[2] in 1905, it was published in the collection called Three Plays by Brieux. With a Preface by Bernard Shaw, compiled by Charlotte F. Shaw and published in May, 1911, simultaneously in London and New York, by Brentanos, New York. Brentanos then also published as a separate edition for the Connecticut Society of Social Hygiene, with sections from the original foreword by George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), in 1912 (c1911). The play was finally produced as a private performance by the Authors' Producing Society in England at the Little Theatre, on the 16th February, 1914, followed by a further series of performances at the Court Theatre in March.

The play was banned in England and thus first produced to acclaim at the Fulton Theatre, New York on March 14, 1913, for the Connecticut Society of Social Hygiene, and also played in Washington.

The text was also published in Australia by W.C. Penfold, Sydney (1914), with a foreword by Charlotte F. Shaw, and later also by Jonathan Cape (1943).

The play was novelized in English ("with the approval of the author") by Upton Sinclair and published by C. Winston, Philadelphia, as Damaged Goods: The great play "Les avariés" of Brieux (copyright 1913).

Filmed four times as Damaged Goods: the first directed by Tom Ricketts (1914), followed by Alexander Butler (1919), Edgar G. Ulmer (1933) and Phil Goldstone (1937).

Performance History in South Africa

1917 - First produced as Damaged Goods at the Standard Theatre, Johannesburg, by Stephen Black, opening on 9 October 1917. The cast included Henry Miles, Edward Vincent, Dick Cruikshanks, Olga Vallier, Alma Vaughan, Violette Ford, Hilda Attenboro and Betty Kendal.




Facsimile version of the original French text, The Internet Archive[3]

Facsimile version of the 1913 novelization by Upton Sinclair, HathiTrust Digital Library[4]

Facsimile version of W.C. Penfold's 1914 Australian version of the text, with an informative foreword by Mrs Bernard Shaw, State Library of Victoria[5]

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