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Damaged Goods; the great play "Les avaries" by Brieux, novelized with the approval of the author   By: (1878-1968)

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DAMAGED GOODS

The Great Play "Les Avaries" of Eugene Brieux

Novelized with the approval of the author

by Upton Sinclair

THE PRODUCTION OF EUGENE BRIEUX'S PLAY, "LES AVARIES," OR, TO GIVE IT ITS ENGLISH TITLE, "DAMAGED GOODS," HAS INITIATED A MOVEMENT IN THIS COUNTRY WHICH MUST BE REGARDED AS EPOCH MAKING. New York Times

Page 4 is a virtually unreadable letter in handwritten script from M. Brieux.

PREFACE

My endeavor has been to tell a simple story, preserving as closely as possible the spirit and feeling of the original. I have tried, as it were, to take the play to pieces, and build a novel out of the same material. I have not felt at liberty to embellish M. Brieux's ideas, and I have used his dialogue word for word wherever possible. Unless I have mis read the author, his sole purpose in writing LES AVARIES was to place a number of most important facts before the minds of the public, and to drive them home by means of intense emotion. If I have been able to assist him, this bit of literary carpentering will be worth while. I have to thank M. Brieux for his kind permission to make the attempt, and for the cordial spirit which he has manifested.

Upton Sinclair

PRESS COMMENTS ON THE PLAY

DAMAGED GOODS was first presented in America at a Friday matinee on March 14th, 1913, in the Fulton Theater, New York, before members of the Sociological Fund. Immediately it was acclaimed by public press and pulpit as the greatest contribution ever made by the Stage to the cause of humanity. Mr. Richard Bennett, the producer, who had the courage to present the play, with the aid of his co workers, in the face of most savage criticism from the ignorant, was overwhelmed with requests for a repetition of the performance.

Before deciding whether of not to present DAMAGED GOODS before the general public, it was arranged that the highest officials in the United States should pass judgment upon the manner in which the play teaches its vital lesson. A special guest performance for members of the Cabinet, members of both houses of Congress, members of the United States Supreme Court, representatives of the Diplomatic corps and others prominent in national life was given in Washington, D.C.

Although the performance was given on a Sunday afternoon (April 6, 1913), the National Theater was crowded to the very doors with the most distinguished audience ever assembled in America, including exclusively the foremost men and women of the Capital. The most noted clergymen of Washington were among the spectators.

The result of this remarkable performance was a tremendous endorsement of the play and of the manner in which Mr. Bennett and his co workers were presenting it.

This reception resulted in the continuance of the New York performances until mid summer and is responsible for the decision on the part of Mr. Bennett to offer the play in every city in America where citizens feel that the ultimate welfare of the community is dependent upon a higher standard of morality and clearer understanding of the laws of health.

The WASHINGTON POST, commenting on the Washington performance, said:

The play was presented with all the impressiveness of a sermon; with all the vigor and dynamic force of a great drama; with all the earnestness and power of a vital truth.

In many respects the presentation of this dramatization of a great social evil assumed the aspects of a religious service. Dr. Donald C. Macleod, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, mounted the rostrum usually occupied by the leader of the orchestra, and announced that the nature of the performance, the sacredness of the play, and the character of the audience gave to the play the significance of a tremendous sermon in behalf of mankind, and that as such it was eminently fitting that a divine blessing be invoked. Dr. Earle Wilfley, pastor of the Vermont Avenue Christian Church, asked all persons in the audience to bow their heads in a prayer for the proper reception of the message to be presented from the stage... Continue reading book >>




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