Marcel Achard, a good playwright himself and a knowledgeable man of the theater, opens his introduction to Georges Feydeau’s Théâtre complet with the assertion that Feydeau is the greatest French comic dramatist after Molière. He may well be one of the most performed as well. The records kept by the Société des Auteurs Dramatiques indicate that Feydeau’s plays are performed each month of the year in about seventy different theaters the world over, from Japan to Turkey, from Europe to North America.
The name Feydeau is immediately associated with the boulevard theater of the belle époque , the twenty-odd years between the World’s Fair of 1889 and the eve of World War I—a period that worshiped wealth and sought pleasure and immediate gratification; a period identified with frivolity, gaiety, and high living; a period reproduced brilliantly in Feydeau’s plays. He is also remembered as the best exponent of the well-made play, the creator of labyrinthine and precision-made plots, and, above all, the undisputed master of the bedroom farce, the king of vaudeville.
By the time Feydeau was ready to join the ranks of the vaudevillistes, vaudeville, though outwardly still as popular as it had ever been, was already in an advanced state of decline. The influential theater critic Francisque Sarcey had predicted its imminent demise as early as 1880. This condition had not escaped young Feydeau. Though Feydeau would...
(The entire section is 420 words.)
Baker, Stuart E. Georges Feydeau and the Aesthetics of Farce. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Research Press, 1981. Examines Feydeau’s work against the background of its literary and dramatic context.
Esteban, Manuel A. Georges Feydeau. Boston: Twayne, 1983. A good general overview of Feydeau’s works, including biographical notes and literary analysis.
Marcous, J. Paul. Introduction to Georges Feydeau, Three Farces. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1986. The introduction to three farces by Feydeau provides insight into his life and works.
Pronko, Leonard C. Eugene Labiche and Georges Feydeau. New York: Grove Press, 1982. An examination of the lives and works of Eugene Labiche and Feydeau. Bibliography and index.
Pronko, Leonard C. Georges Feydeau. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1975. A good place to begin an exploration of Feydeau’s work. Includes a complete bibliography, analysis of the plays, and summary, chronology, and complete list of Feydeau’s plays.