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The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat As Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of The Marquis de Sade (or Marat Sade)

4.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1577662310
ISBN-10: 1577662318
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"My own admiration for, and pleasure in, Marat/Sade is virtually unqualified. Considered as a text alone, it is both sound and exciting. Weiss has supplied a complex and highly literate text which demands to be responded to. Theatricality and insanity--the two most potent subjects of the contemporary theater--are brilliantly fused." --Susan Sontag

From the Back Cover

"A truly remarkable play that is just as important for modern audiences as it was when it was first performed. A true milestone in modern theatrics. I will be glad to have my students read this great translation and adaptation." -- Daniel Inouye, Ouachita Baptist University
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Waveland Pr Inc (December 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577662318
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577662310
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
While certainly a brilliant play, I should mention that this edition differs slightly from the edition I used while in the United Kingdom. Aside from the typical spelling changes, certain words were changed slightly in meaning (Coulmier's "This is outright defeatism!" vs. "...outright pacifism!"). The biggest crime, however, was a drastic reduction of the final scene.

The UK edition features an extended Epilogue, including an explanation from Sade, the "resurrection" and counter-explanation of Marat, and a giant poster of Napoleon during the parade scene. In this edition, some of the Herald's lines were given to Coulmier to apparently bridge the gap.

All of the descriptions, introductions, notes, and even inclusion of musical scores remain identical. If given a choice, I would certainly look for that edition, as it is somewhat more fulfilling. (It features a standard black & white cover with no pink trim)
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Format: Paperback
Written in the early sixties, the play frequently
abbreviated as Marat/Sade is set in 1808, yet many of the
comments are distinctly directed toward current events,
notably the upheavals in Eastern Europe. Now, with the
fall of the Soviet Union behind us, the play takes on even
greater significance. Despite the reassurances of the asylum
director, whether a mere fifteen years or well over two
hundred years have passed, the nature of revolutions, and
the fanatics who cause them, has not changed. Combining
historical events with modern theatrics, Weiss has produced
what has been and will continue to be one of the most
disturbing, as well as one of the most important works
ever to be performed on stage.
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By A Customer on June 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
MARAT/SADE
"This play-within-a-play is about pushing at the limits", said Dramaturg William Lewis Evans.
I first saw the play performed by students of the Bishop's College School Studio Theatre in Lennoxville, Quebec. The text was phenomenally stimulating. The play was memorable, intense, and for the audience at least, indeed a little scary. Marat/Sade, after all, is the practical quintessence of what Antonin Artaud called the Theatre of Cruelty - theatre of the visceral and disturbing - theatre that "wakes us up, mind and heart". The highlight of that Canadian gala, for me, was when I witnessed an audience member and retired member of the French Foreign Legion (an outstanding citoyen-expatrie who should remain nameless) stand up - in the middle of this High School play - and leave the theatre in protest.
The play was, and remains, exceedingly powerful.
Years later I saw the play performed by Yale students in New Haven, Connecticut. If I remember correctly, Loren Stein directed. At one point during the performance, it became clear to the audience that one of the patients - an actor - had, during the course of the performance, in fact urinated on an audience member. As a reporter for Radio in New Haven, I interrogated that audience member at the end of the night, and caught a soundbite.
She said:
"It was wonderful. I don't know what else to say. This is Theatre, I guess. Real theatre."
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that this play should end up out of print, along with a dozen or so others like it, and be replaced on your roster with the latest celebrity-authored self-help books.
Maybe Oprah Winfrey will teach me how to fry tofu. It seems to be all we have a taste for anymore.
Franklin Pryce Raff
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Format: Paperback
I first heard of this play around 30 years ago when it was performed by the upper classes of my school in England. I never forgot it and decided recently to purchase the play and to read it.
The story takes place in an insane asylum in France around the time of the French Revolution, where The Marquis de Sade was kept for a number of years. He wrote a play about the revolutionary - Jean-Paul Marat, which was performed by the inmates of the asylum.
However, the play is much more than that. It really is a commentary about about how people behave toward one another during terrible periods of time.
I think it is a remarkable play - sometimes a little horrifying - but very well worth while picking up to read. I whole heartedly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Weiss' play should be in everybody's "books to read before I die" lists! It is philosophical, intriguing, and taps into true human nature. The question of humanity's sanity and the the existence of classism is explored. Anyone who reads this, not watches it on youtube, will definitely enjoy the intellect Weiss brings to his characters and their conversations (especially those between Marat and de Sade).

The reason why I give it a four star is because the binding isn't all that great.
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Format: Paperback
I found the title of Peter Weiss's play so interesting that I bought his play on an impulse. I half expected it to be unreadably pretentious, but in fact I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would love to see it actually performed, but I live over a thousand miles from where that might be happening. One advantage of reading the play is that the author's comments are available.

I knew very little beyond the superficial about Sade or Marat, so I was somewhat surprised to discover that Sade actually wrote plays while confined in Charenton that were performed by the inmates, and that Marat was a scientist who expressed ideas well ahead of his time. I was inspired to learn more about Marat, so I read his essay ARE WE UNDONE, in which he urges: "The cutting off of five or six hundred heads would have guaranteed your peace, liberty and happiness." In the play he justifies this savagery by insisting (p. 113): "We do not murder we kill in self-defence." (It might very well be our beloved president speaking). If Marat was made the scapegoat for the Reign of Terror, it was not without foundation.

Weiss writes that what interested him "in bringing Sade and Marat together was the conflict between an individualism carried to extreme lengths and the idea of a political and social upheaval. Speaking to Marat, Sade says (p. 131), "these cells of the inner self are worse than the deepest stone dungeon as long as they are locked all your Revolution remains only a prison mutiny to be put down by corrupted fellow-prisoners." This dovetails interestingly with Sade's comment to his wife when she complained that one could not approve of his mode of thought (p. 147): "My mode of thought is the result of my reflections, it is a part of my life, of my own nature.
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The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat As Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of The Marquis de Sade (or Marat Sade)
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