Schehadé, Georges 1907–1989
Schehadé, Georges 1907–1989
PERSONAL: Born November 2, 1907, in Alexandria, Egypt; died January 17, 1989, in Paris, France. Education: Studied in France.
CAREER: Writer, poet, and playwright. Served as secretary general of the Éole Supérieures Lettres, Beirut, Lebanon.
AWARDS, HONORS: Francophone Literature Prize, Academie Francaise, c. 1989.
Rodogune sinne, GLM (Paris, France), 1947.
Poeésies II (poetry), GLM (Paris, France), 1948.
Poeésies III (poetry), GLM (Paris, France), 1949.
Poeésies zeé;ro (poetry), GLM (Paris, France), 1950.
Monsieur Bob'le, trois actes (play), Guillimard (Paris, France), 1951, reprinted, 1992.
La Soirée des proverbs: versión intégrale trois actes, (play; title means "The Soirée of the Proverbs), (Gallimard (Paris, France) 1954, reprinted, 1992.
Histoire de Vasco: piès en six tableaux, (play), Gallimard (Paris, France) 1956, published as The Story of Vasco: Opera in Three Acts, Oxford University Press (England), 1974.
Les violettes; comeédie en onze tableaux avec des chansonnettes (play), Gallimard (Paris, France), 1960.
Le voyage; pieice en huit tableaux (play), Gallimard (Paris, France), 1961.
L'Emigré de Brisbane; pieìce en neuf tableaux (play), Gallimard (Paris, France), 1965.
Les Poeìsies, (poetry), Gallimard (Paris, France), 1969.
L'é;colier sultan. Suivi de Rodogune Sinne. Premiers eìcrits, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1973.
L'habit fait le prince; pantomime inspireée (si l'on veut) d'une nouvelle de Gottfried Keller: "Kleider machen leute," Gallimard (Paris, France), 1973.
Anthologie du vers unique, Ramsay (Paris, France), 1977.
Le nageur d'un seul amour (poetry), Gallimard (Paris, France), 1985.
Œuvre compléte, Éditions Dar An-Nahar (France), 1998.
Georges Schehadés, la poésie. Poétes marocains del génération 80, Poésie 99 (Paris, France), 1999.
Les poésies (poetry collection), Gallimard (Paris, France), 2001.
Also author of television plays and screenplays, including Le Voyage, 1973, and "Estudio 1" (episode of El emigrante de Brisbane), 1965; and author of Goha (screenplay), 1958.
Author's plays also published in anthologies, including The New Theatre of Europe, Dell (New York, NY), 1962–1970, and Theatre of War, edited with an introduction by Robert Baldick, Penguin, 1967; works also published in Spanish and German.
SIDELIGHTS: Georges Schehadé was a poet and playwright of Lebanese descent who wrote in French. The author began writing poetry in a conventional manner but later turned to more "surrealistic" poems. In a review of the author's poetry collection Le nageur d'un seul amour, Times Literary Supplement contributor David Gascoyne noted that in the poems "are to be found further evocations of an atemporal world that the poet has made his own."
Schehadé, however, became better known for his plays, even though he is not well known internationally and his plays have been produced sporadically even in his adopted country of France. Writing in Educational Theatre Journal, Lester W. Thompson Jr., noted that many "critics have failed to recognize and properly appreciate Schehadés's gift for metaphorical nuance, which enables him to delineate truly unusual characters while working within the framework of clearly recognizable types." Thompson went on to write, "Schehadés's characters are at once real and unreal: real in the sense that they possess certain qualities and concerns common to each of us living in this atomic and automated age, and unreal because they can also be seen as poetic metaphors or fanciful exaggerations of the vice and virtue in us all."
In an article in Yale French Studies, Bettina Knapp noted that the author's "plays are flights of fancy clothed in the magic of poetry." For example, Monsieur Bob'le, trois actes is a fable about a saintly village sage and La Soirée des proverbs: versión intégrale trois actes tells the story of a barber who dies a hero in an absurd war. Writing about the play L'Emigré de Brisbane; pieìce en neuf tableaux in Modern Drama, Juris Silenieks commented that "it is incontestable that Schehadé's captivating poetic idiom is the most salient characteristic of his theatre." Silenieks went on to call the play Le voyage; pieìce en huit tableaux a play about "innocence amidst experience and routine." The play tells the story of sales clerk who longs for a sea adventure but winds up on trial for a murder he did not commit, and the only witness that could clear him is a parrot. Commenting on the play Histoire de Vasco, World Literature Today contributor Mona Takieddine Amyuni wrote that "words fly like the wind, are knitted like a sweater, or weave dreams that are far more important than reality." Amyuni went on to comment on the authors' complete works, noting, "In sum, Schehadé's world is fully animated, and an elemental harmony charms both actors and spectators. The artist does not escape reality but instead transmutes it into a higher or a deeper one, wherein the paradox of life is acknowledged and heartily accepted."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Educational Theatre Journal, December, 1970, Lester W. Thompson Jr., "The innocent Hero in Four Plays by Georges Schehadé" pp. 373-381.
Magazine Litteraire, November, 1997, Jabbour Douaihy, review of Le nageur d'un seul amour, pp. 129-132.
Modern Drama, September, 1967, Juris Silenieks "Georges Schehadé: the Transfiguration of a Poetic Theatre," pp. 151-160.
Nouvelle Revue Francais, January, 1991, Philippe Jaccottet, "Gâce rendue à la grâce," pp. 75-81.
Poetique, September, 1992, Bruno Tritsmans, "Territoires et dérives," pp.327-334.
Presence Francophone, Volume 7, 1993, "Interview avec Schehadeé," pp. 76-81,
Times Literary Supplement, September 26, 1986, David Gascoyne, review of Le nageur d'un seul amour, p. 1050.
World Literature Today, winter, 1989, Mona Takieddine Amyuni, "A Tribute to Georges Schehade on Receiving the First Francophone Literature Prize of the Academie Francaise," pp. 26-30.
Yale French Studies, Volume 29, 1962, Bettina Knapp, "George Schehade: 'He who dreams diffuses into air …,'" pp. 108-115.
International Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com, (January 29, 2006), author's film and television work.