The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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The Complete Works of Alphonse Allais (10-11)

July 23rd, 2014 · No Comments


The seventh volume of Allais’s posthumous works (499 pp., 1969) contains his weekly columns for Le Sourire, 1901-1904.

The cover art is taken from a poster by Jules Chéret for the Palais de Glace (Ice Palace).


The eighth and final volume of the posthumous works (641 pp., 1970) collects the following:

Allais’s weekly columns for Le Sourire, 1905, ending with his last, on October 21.

Additional columns from Gil Blas, Fantasio, and Le Tintamarre; a letter to his mother, and a poem not discovered until 1930.

The novel L’Affaire Blaireau (The Blaireau Affair), from 1899. Allais reworked it from a play, Innocent, he had written with Alfred Capus in 1896.  The plot revolves around a poacher, Blaireau, wrongly convicted of assaulting a policeman, and the ensuing complications.

Another novel, Le Boomerang, ou Rien n’est mal qui finit bien (The Boomerang, or All Is Not Bad That Finishes Well), serialized in 1903, and published as a book in 1912.  Although released under Allais’s name, it was ghost-written (Allais referred to the book’s “young confectioner”), and based on the short plays Silvérie and Le Pauvre Bougre et le Bon Génie (The Miserable Wretch and the Good Genie).

There are also three plays: The aforementioned one-act, Le Pauvre Bougre, from 1899; another one-act, Congé Amiable (Friendly Departure), written with Tristan Bernard in 1903; and a three-act farce, Monsieur La Pudeur (Mister Prude), written with Paul Bonhomme and Félix Galipaux in 1903.

Allais’s other plays, all collaborations, and often with little contribution on his part except his name, are described, but omitted.  They are, for the curious:

Au Moulin de la Galette, with Jehan Serrazin and Jules Desmarquoy, 1889.  A revue for the eponymous cabaret.

Revue libre (Free Revue), with many others, 1890.  Another revue, for the Hôtel Continental.

Innocent, with Alfred Capus, 1896.

Silvérie, ou le Les Fonds hollandis (Silvérie, or the Dutch Fund), with Tristan Bernard, 1898.  Based on Allais’s story Simple Malentendu (Simple Misunderstanding), from 1890.

A la gare comme à la gare (At the Station as at the Station, a pun on the proverbial expression A la guerre comme à la guerre, At War as at War), with Albert René, 1899.

L’Astiqueur, ou Patience et longueur de temps font plus que force ni que rage (The Polisher, or Patience and the Passage of Time Do More Than Force or Rage), with Albert René, 1900.

Eh! Placide! Eh! Généreux!, with Albert René, 1901.  Another revue; only René’s songs have survived.

Chat-Mauve Revue, with Albert René and Paul Bonhomme, 1904.

Les Cinq Sens (The Five Senses), with E. Favart and Albert René, 1904.  Presumed lost.

La Partie de Dominos (The Game of Dominoes), with Sacha Guitry, 1907.  Based on Allais’s early story, Un drame bien parisien (A Very Parisian Drama).

Le Petit Café, with Tristan Bernard and Ernest La Jeunesse, 1911.  Originally written in 1899, but not performed until 1911.

The cover is taken from a poster for the Théâtre Libre, by Toulouse-Lautrec.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)


Tags: Alphonse Allais · Literature

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