UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Starring Joseph K. : four stage adaptations of Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial 1997

You don't seem to have a PDF reader installed, try download the pdf

Item Metadata


ubc_1997-251071.pdf [ 18.77MB ]
JSON: 1.0076935.json
JSON-LD: 1.0076935+ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 1.0076935.xml
RDF/JSON: 1.0076935+rdf.json
Turtle: 1.0076935+rdf-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 1.0076935+rdf-ntriples.txt

Full Text

STARRING JOSEPH K.: FOUR STAGE ADAPTATIONS OF FRANZ KAFKA'S NOVEL THE TRIAL by PAUL MATTHEW MALONE B.F.A., The University of Calgary, 1987 B.A., The University of Calgary, 1988 M.A., McMaster University, 1989 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Individual Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Programme [Theatre/Germanic Studies]) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE llNJVERSiTY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1997 © Paul Matthew Malone, 1997 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of ' ' The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date \ \ ku<A <\CC\- DE-6 (2/88) Starring Joseph K.: Four Stage Adaptations of Franz Kafka's Novel The Trial Abstract This dissertation takes as its premise the belief that privileging the text of a play as the site of meaning is inadequate, given the social nature of theatre. This privileging is evident in the low critical opinion of dramatic adaptations of prose works: the dramatic text, incomplete by nature, cannot compete with the self-sufficient narrative text which it adapts. Rather, as described in the introductory chapter, the socio-historical context of a production must be investigated to flesh out the meaning of the text. Four theatrical adaptations of Franz Kafka's novel Der Prozefi (1925) illustrate a history not only of Kafka reception, but also of society, politics and theatrical practice in Europe and North America. The first adaptation, Le Proces (1947), by Jean-Louis Barrault and Andre Gide, is interpreted in the second chapter in the context of post-Occupation tensions in France, including a sense of guilt left by collaboration. Against an intellectual backdrop of existentialism and absurdism, Le Proces renders Joseph K. as a Jewish victim of unjust authorities. The third chapter describes actor/playwright Steven Berkoff s antipathy to the middle-class conformism of 1970s Britain, which turns his adaptation, The Trial (1973), into a highly personal protest in which K. is destroyed by bourgeois "mediocrity." Peter Weiss's German adaptation, Der Prozefi (1975), treated in the fourth chapter, attempts more sweeping Marxist social criticism, depicting Kafka's world as a historically specific Eastern Europe in the days leading up to the Great War: K. is a bank employee who, by refusing to ally himself with the workers, seals his own fate under exploitative capitalism. ii Ill Finally, Sally Clark's Canadian The Trial of Judith K. (1989) is described in the fifth chapter as a cross-gender revision of the novel reflecting both a feminist critique of male oppression and the freedom of interpretation of canonical works enabled by North America's relative intellectual isolation from the canon's European roots. K., as a victim of patriarchy, is a woman. The diversity of these four adaptations pleads for the acceptance of dramatic adaptation as a creative form of interpretation, rather than as an ill-advised misappropriation, of its source. T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S Abstract ii Table of Contents iv List of Tables vi Acknowledgements vii Introduction 1 A. A Theory of "Interdynamic Realism" 4 B. The Adaptation of the Novel to the Stage 10 1. From Narrative Text to Dramatic Text 13 2. From Dramatic Text to Performance Text 19 C. The Theatre and Kafka—Kafka and the Theatre 20 D. The Plot, Form and Structure of the Novel 33 Paris, 1947: Le Proces 40 The Origins of the Collaboration 40 The Problem of Authorship 47 Life Imitates Art: the Purge and the Trial(s) 56 Barrault's "Equivalences," Their Result, and Critical Objections 65 The Authors' Contributions and Judgements 94 London, 1973: The Trial 105 Berkoff vs. the Theatre Establishment 106 Berkoff s Theatre: The Influence of Artaud and Others 111 The Genesis of The Trial 118 The Sources of The Trial and Its Form 125 Berkoff s Alterations: More of a Chorus, Less of a Set 132 Sexuality in Berkoff and Barrault 134 The Trial itself, Biblical Allusions and K.'s Guilt 143 The Mixed Reception of Berkoff s Trial 152 Berkoff s Achievement 163 Bremen, 1975: Der Prozefi 167 Weiss and Kafka: From Major Influence to Passing Acquaintance? 169 The Road to The Aesthetics of Resistance and the Return to Kafka 175 The Shaping of the Adaptation in the Notebooks 186 Weiss's Prozefi: Faithful to Kafka—in its Fashion 195 K., Fraulein Burstner and Women as a Class 218 K.'s Would-Be Helper 226 iv Fantasy and Reality in Weiss's Prozefi 232 The Critical Reaction—Including Weiss's Own 239 Toronto, 1989: The Trial of Judith K. 261 A New Career in Hard Times 262 The Investigative Theatre of Sally Clark 267 Clark's Commission, its Background and its Result 271 Clark's Revision of Trial and Re-Visioning of Der Procefi 289 Gender-Switching in Act One of The Trial of Judith K. 296 The Triangle of Act Two 308 Recapitulation 316 The Production and Critical Reception of Judith K. 320 Conclusion 337 Works Cited 348 I. Primary Sources 348 II. Secondary Sources 348 v List of Tables Table 1. The structure of Kafka's Trial as edited by Brod vi Acknowledgements For assisting me throughout the lengthy process of producing this dissertation, I am indebted to my dissertation supervisor, Prof. Peter Loeffler, and my supervisory committee members, Prof. Eva-Marie Kroller, Prof. Klaus Petersen and Prof. Jerry Wasserman. Their enthusiasm and support have been invaluable. In addition to my committee members, I am also grateful to other colleagues and friends who supplied research material, assistance and support, including Martina Barth, Prof. Marketa Goetz- Stankiewicz, Melanie Kolbeins, Lena Larsson, John and Mamie Rice, Ingrid Schutzmann, and Prof. Steven Taubeneck. Particularly helpful was Sally Clark, who not only provided several sources from her personal files, but also graciously made herself available for two personal interviews several years apart. Additional information was also supplied by Jason Sherman, former editor of what Magazine. Important supporting roles were played by the two respective chairs of what has become the Individual Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Programme, Prof. Laurie Ricou and Prof. Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe; and by departmental secretaries Ingrid Ross and Christa Rathje (Germanic Studies) and Leah Postman (Individual Interdisciplinary Studies). Thanks must also go to my external examiners, Prof. Laurence Kitching of Simon Fraser University and Prof. Maurice Yacowar of the University of Calgary. Funding was provided during my studies at U.B.C. by the university itself, in the form of the Dr. Joyce Hallamore Scholarship, a partial U.B.C. University Graduate Fellowship, and the Tina and Morris Wagner Fellowship; and by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, through a two-year Doctoral Fellowship. Thanks also to my family for financial assistance. I am also grateful to Joanna Russ, whose witty book How to Suppress Women's Writing made me laugh out loud when I came upon the following: "I once asked a young dissertation writer whether her suddenly grayed hair was due to ill-health or personal tragedy; she answered It was the footnotes. .." (137). I can now personally vouch for the truth of this anecdote. Special thanks are due to my wife, Teresa, for her unfailing love and understanding, particularly while hearing most of this dissertation read aloud. vii 1 Introduction "You can throw Kafka's Trial open anywhere you like to prove that it isn't suited to be the basis for a theatrical event." So wrote reviewer Gerd Jager in 1976 in the journal Theater heute, prompted by the Diisseldorf production of Steven Berkoff s Kafka adaptation. According to Jager, Berkoff and his company would have been wiser had they expended their energy on a work written for the stage, rather than on a "watered-down" version of a novel. This is not owing to the quality of Kafka's prose alone: the novel in general, Jager writes, is a form whose advantages are different in principle from those of the drama, and are not easily communicated theatrically (34).1 Jager's dismissal is so self-assured that it seems to brook no disagreement—though the long history of theatrical adaptations from fiction (to which we will return shortly) is itself a history of disagreement. Indeed, if Jager offers no evidence to support his position, it is presumably because he feels it to be self-evident—founded on opinions not original to Jager, but themselves enjoying a long history and a respectable pedigree. Almost two decades before Jager, for example, the same position had seemed self-evident to Theodor W. Adorno, whose remarks regarding Andre Gide's 1947 adaptation of The Trial Jager consciously or unconsciously echoes: "amid the rising tide of illiteracy, [Gide], at least, ought not to have forgotten that for works of art which deserve the name, the medium is not a matter of indifference. Adaptations should be reserved for the culture industry" 1 "Zu sehr fallt in Diisseldorf auf, daB gerade ein Theaterstiick, also nicht der 'ProzeB', die geeignete Ausgangsbasis fur Berkoffs und des Ensembles Arbeit gewesen ware. Derm dann ware das theatralische Resultat nicht zu messen an den Vorziigen einer Literaturform, die prinzipiell andere, nicht zu iibertragende sind. Man kann Kafkas 'ProzeB' an jeder beliebigen Stelle aufschlagen, um zu beweisen, daB er als Vorlage fur eine Theaterveranstaltung nicht taugt." 2 (Adorno/Weber and Weber, Prisms 262-263).2 For Adorno, there is no drama without freedom, or even the mere striving for freedom: because Kafka's characters are never free, they cannot be transferred to "the tragic stage" (die tragische Biihne) without making them ridiculous (Adorno, Prismen 270). Furthermore, by ascribing adaptations to the realm of the "culture industry," Adorno implies that they are fraudulent creations, foisted off on the public in lieu of genuine aesthetic pleasure. Adorno's name is of course far better-known than Jager's, and carries greater authority. Even the statement quoted immediately above, which is given as a mere footnote in a lengthy essay on Kafka, is itself well-known enough that, a year before Jager's review, one critic of Peter Weiss's 1975 dramatization of The Trial had concisely referred to it as das Adorno-Gebot: "Adorno's commandment" (Burkhardt, "Kafka den ProzeB gemacht"). Useful though Adorno has proven for critics of Kafka's adapters, however, they do not mention that a consistent application of Adorno's ideas on drama and freedom would damn a great deal of respected postwar theatre: if drama requires freedom, how does one evaluate the works of Beckett, Ionesco, Handke, Bernhard, or many others? I have chosen Jager's words to begin this dissertation, however, because he demonstrates an acceptance of Adorno's attitude—which,'as regards the theatre, is a restrictive and conservative one—within the ranks of theatre criticism itself. Jager, like Adorno, has a clear idea of the properties pertaining respectively to the novel and to the drama, and those properties most advantageous to one medium (for example, presumably, the novel's length, since it must be "reduced"—reduziert—£or the stage), simply are not transferable. Clearly, it is difficult to dispute his claim that the two media are 2 " . . . [Gide] wenigstens hatte nicht im Zuge des fortschreitenden Analphabetismus vergessen diirfen, daB Kunstwerken, die es sind, ihr Medium nicht zufallig ist. Adaptations [sic] waren der Kulturindustrie vorzubehalten" (Adorno, Prismen 270). 3 not the same; if they were, such adaptations would be not impossible, but superfluous. Curiously, however, Jager undercuts his own conclusion, for his review of Berkoff s Trial is not wholly a negative one. On the contrary, he has much praise for the actors' work, for the rhythm and counterpoint of sound and movement, text and choreography. All in all, "the perfection (if also, however, the slickness) of the production knows almost no bounds" (34).3 What is more, "the experience gained by the cast in their craft will not simply evaporate. When they are faced with more rewarding objects, they and their audience can profit from it" (35).4 This conclusion raises some serious questions. If the production of the adaptation is even a qualified success, how can it be said that the adaptation has failed, or that the very activity of adaptation is pointless? If the two forms are so different, is it even possible to compare them on the basis of an abstract standard of "quality"? In other words, must the adaptation, necessarily different from the novel, necessarily be lesser than the novel? And unless the answer to that question is a resounding "yes," can one indeed prove that Kafka's novel (or any other) is not suited for adaptation to the stage? If it simply is not in some essential manner—as, for example, Kafka scholar Heinz Politzer has argued, in terms similar to Adorno's and Jager's (Politzer, Franz Kafka: Parable and Paradox 300-301)—then why have so many theatrical writers been so obtuse or so foolhardy as to make the attempt? I propose, in this dissertation, to address these questions by describing four notable dramatic adaptations of Kafka's Trial. I say 'address' rather than 'answer' because I can guarantee no definitive 3 "Die Perfektion (aber eben auch: die Glatte) der Auffuhrung zeigt kaum Grenzen." 4 "Die handwerklichen Erfahrungen, die diese zwolf Schauspieler des Dusseldorfer Ensembles gemacht haben in der Arbeit mit Berkoff, werden sich nicht ohne weiteres verfluchtigen. In der Auseinandersetzung mit lohnenderen Objekten konnen sie und ihr Publikum davon profitieren." 4 answers. The purpose of this introduction, preparatory to examining the four adaptations, is fourfold: a) to outline the theoretical basis from which I intend to perform my analysis—i.e., what is relevant to my task, which falls essentially under the heading of dramatic criticism/theatre history; b) to describe a practical general model for the process of adaptation—how novels are transferred to the stage; c) to provide a brief overview of the relationship between Kafka's work and the theatre—why Kafka's works have been so tempting to theatre practitioners; and d) to provide an extremely brief synopsis of Kafka's novel. A. A Theory of "Interdynamic Realism" The most obvious method of dealing with the task at hand might seem to be the following: examining the scripts of the four adaptations I have chosen, I could compare them structurally to Kafka's novel and to each other, possibly coming to some conclusion about which adaptations better convey the meaning of the original. For two reasons, however, I do not propose to take this route. One reason is that I have no intention of producing a reading of Kafka's Trial, be it my own or someone else's, as a yardstick for such a judgement. Kafka scholarship has produced such a wealth of interpretations of the novel, singly and as a part of Kafka's larger body of work, that I could not begin to assimilate them all, to say nothing of choosing among them or competing with them. M y interest lies in the adapters' readings of the work, why they may have arrived at such readings, and how they have expressed them to an audience—the analysis of which will involve some structural description, but not as sum total of the project. The second and perhaps more important reason is the fact that while straightforward 5 comparative literary analysis can be both valuable and interesting, in the present circumstances I would find it difficult to perform along strictly comparative lines without implicitly subscribing to the opinion I have already criticized above: namely, the opinion that an adaptation is somehow necessarily inferior to its source. The Dutch critic Herman Verhaar, for example, refers to all the subsidiary and adapted literature based on Kafka's works as gesol-literatuur: "literary tampering" (Verhaar 963). I will outline my objections to this opinion in some detail in the next section. In place of the comparative strategy first described, then, I intend to show the four adaptations at hand not above all as texts, but as theatrical events taking place in specific social contexts. I feel I must devote some little space to the background of my procedure at this point, because in many academic quarters this strategy is regarded as vague and unscientific in comparison to textual analysis. This textual bias of academic theatre studies is based both in the practical reality that it is easier for the purposes of a course to read a number of playscripts than to stage a series of productions, and in the ideological need to give the impression that theatre studies conform to a positivistic scientific model (see in this regard McConachie 466-474; Nellhaus 505-507). This leads to what Jean Alter has called the "literary fallacy" (amended by Rice and Malone to the "textual fallacy"; Rice and Malone 106-107) in which the meaning of the theatrical event is perceived as being located totally in the text (Alter 114-116). Discouraged or unsettled by the transitory nature of the theatrical production, it is understandable that many critics and historians prefer to deal with the playscript, the ever-accessible basis of the production, as the object of analysis. The practical aspect of this textual approach—texts always being more readily available than productions—has moreover often been reinforced by a deep stratum of what Jonas Barish has called "the antitheatrical prejudice," in his book of that name (1981). Although Barish provides an 6 overview of the bias against theatre in Western culture since the Greeks, he singles out such "bardolatrous" Romantic critics as Lamb and Coleridge as examples of a general tendency to elevate the text far above performance, particularly as regards Shakespeare (328-332). Among more recent critics, F. R. Leavis and Yvor Winters are described as moderns who display either indifference or outright antipathy to performance (418-449). Ten years later, Martin Buzacott, in his The Death of the Actor, quite rightly condemns Barish's view of the Romantics' antitheatricality as an oversimplification (5). However, Buzacott himself explains that the real struggle between text and performance is "between [Shakespeare's] characterisation which is imaginative, huge and chaste, and the actor who is physical, small and violently lascivious" (33). This lascivious actor, incidentally, is always represented by the feminine pronoun, not only when Sarah Bernhardt's acting is compared to "wartime atrocities" (34-5), but even when the futility of portraying Hamlet is described as an act of hubris worthy of Milton's Satan (28-29). Buzacott's description of Shakespearean performance as "textual mutilation" akin to "circumcision, tattooing [or] cicatrisation" (30), and his comparison of actors to "terrorists," "whores" (27), "sweaty, bare-breasted mulattoes" (59), "Pakistani beggars [and] miserable spastics" (73) pandering to a "fickle and perverted public" (134), substantiate Barish's charges and also raise questions of prejudices far beyond the antitheatrical. The vehemence of Buzacott's polemic notwithstanding, both the textual bias and the concomitant positivistic stance, while clearly far from dead, have come under increasing criticism in the last two decades. As Michael Hays wrote in 1977: The most common practice has been to deal with dramatic literature as a text, a literary creation. This approach indicates an unwillingness to deal with the fact that a play, written for and produced in front of an audience, becomes a concrete artistic and social reality which surpasses the limitations imposed on analyses of authors and their works. Dramatic creation is not defined by the contributions of actor or director either. Theater practice is social in nature and involves the participation of all the people present in the theater at the moment the theatrical event takes place. (Hays 85; latter emphasis added) Here it must be noted that merely including the audience as part of a communicative equation, as occurs in semiotics, is not sufficient to address the social nature of theatre practice. In the last decades, the rise of semiotic analysis has attempted to bring to theatrical study a new perspective, from which the text is of lesser importance and the production—a complex system of signs, composed of linguistic, sonic, visual and symbolic elements working in continual variations of harmony and counterpoint—comes to the fore. The insights afforded by this change have been valuable, and clearly semiotics have some bearing on the process of adaptation, which is a form of translation across sign-systems; but semiotic analysis, often carried out by scholars with no practical theatre experience, has proven almost useless to theatre practitioners themselves (De Toro 51). After a brief heyday in which all possible theatrical sign-systems were neatly codified and labelled, stagnation seems to have set in. Fernando de Toro, writing in 1992, more than a decade after Hays, could accuse semiotics of having the same blind spot as previous, text-based forms of theatre study: In semiotic approaches to theatre,... the analysis of the objects is independent of social context precisely because the analysis is based on the linguistic model. This limitation is also evident in semiotics in general. In the case of the theatre, particularly in the case of production (encoding-decoding) and reception (recodification) of the performance, this type of analysis is especially complex. More than any other art form, theatre has always been intimately linked to a sociocultural context from the moment ofproduction, (de Toro 49; emphasis added) De Toro's article, titled "Toward a New Theatrology," calls for an analysis of the drama which will take into account not only the formal elements but also the essential social nature of theatre. Finally, Tobin Nellhaus has sought a theoretical framework better suited to the realities of the object of analysis, and better able "to develop concepts adequate for analyzing social and cultural 8 change" (Nellhaus 518). Nellhaus puts forward a theory of realism (based in part on the writings of Roy Bhaskar) which is founded on the following epistemological stands: First,... realism emphasizes that all knowledge is socially produced, and the mind grasps all perceptions and experiences in theoretically-conditioned ways . . . Second,... realism maintains that most things exist independently of the human mind and that knowledge of the extramental [sic] world is possible . . . Third, . . . realism rejects epistemocentrism. Instead, it maintains that consciousness contains only the "upper level" of a vast number of realities. (518- 519) At this point Nellhaus describes four "domains" of reality, nested one within another like puzzle-boxes: Bhaskar's empirical (including "only what we experience"); actual (including "all events whether perceived or not"); and real (including "the underlying generative (causal) structures and mechanisms that produce events, as well as the events they produce"); to which Nellhaus proposes a fourth, nested within the empirical: "the ideological, comprising ideas, values, and beliefs fashioned out of various kinds of experience and interpretations. In other words, experience only becomes significant through social activity" (Nellhaus 519; emphasis added). Given the necessity of acknowledging and explaining social interaction as essential to the theatrical event, it is completely inadequate, for any real understanding of stage adaptation or of any other theatrical event, to examine structurally the text of a playscript as an object in itself. As Nellhaus points out, "Analyzing the phenomenon's internal structures is necessary but not sufficient for realist explanation" (Nellhaus 521). Bhaskar calls his original philosophy, intended as an attempt to form a new epistemological paradigm for the natural sciences, transcendental realism (Bhaskar 25); Nellhaus's addition of the ideological domain serves to adapt Bhaskar's framework for social analysis. In order to differentiate his "realism" from "certain artistic and literary styles" of the same name, Nellhaus calls it inter- dynamic realism. Among the visible signs of this interdynamic approach in my project will be the 9 following: First, I make no attempt to present the series of theatrical adaptations over time as any sort of evolution of Kafka interpretation towards (or away from) some standard of "fidelity," or some ideal of "modernity" or "postmodernity." Although these works may form a continuum, this is not to be interpreted in a teleological fashion, as does much positivist-oriented historical writing, bound to a Darwinian scientific model and an ideal of inevitable "progress" (see Vince 70-71; Nellhaus 507). Second, I do not intend to produce from this study any general laws of theatrical adaptation, since the realist project (interdynamic or not) is descriptive and not prescriptive in nature (Nellhaus 521). Some qualities likely to be common to most theatrical adaptations of novels are outlined in the next section, but the nature of theatrical activity is such that no bounds can be set on the adapter's capability—and right—to use the source text as a jumping-off point for unpredictable variations on a theme (as Sally Clark does in her Kafka adaptation; see also de Toro 49). Third and finally, I reiterate that my concern is not with the playscripts of the adaptations except insofar as they are evidence of the original theatrical events which they represent (whereas in text-based criticism the theatrical event, if acknowledged at all, is seen primarily as a representation of the text). I am aware that many scholars still see such analysis as doomed from the start, judging the individual theatrical production to be so ephemeral that nothing important can be said about it; but if my project is seen as being as much historical as literary, this objection is untenable even on positivist grounds, since the object of history naturally consists of social events, and the stage production is no more ephemeral than any other social event of which we have textual, graphic and/or physical evidence. In this regard, the large amount of readily available evidence generated by any European or North American public event in the twentieth century easily surpasses 10 that of many whole eras of past civilizations which are (and should be) seen as viable fields of study. Of course, even given the available information, describing the complete social and historical context of any one event would be an infinitely complex task; but my approach is grounded in the belief that even the partial sketch possible to a single researcher limited by space, time and personal biases is both of more interest and more use than the most detailed analysis made without regard to social contexts. As de Toro points out, the complete semiotic analysis of only one dramatic text "would take a lifetime" as well, if pursued with a notational system such as that set forth by Keir Elam in his 1980 The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama (49). B . The Adaptation of the Novel to the Stage After delivering a symposium paper concerning Sally Clark's version of The Trial, I was once taken aback when another academic in attendance remarked that he was extremely concerned that people who had gone to see such a production might be less inclined to read "the real thing." This allegation disturbed me on several points. After all, one could just as easily argue that a theatregoer might well be inspired to read the novel after seeing an adaptation; or that some of the audience might only be present because they had already read the novel; or that for the vast majority of people who are not going to read the novel under any circumstances, seeing an adaptation might be their only exposure to the subject. For that matter, what is the "real thing"? Will a translation do, or must it be the original—in this case, German—text? To broaden the scope of that last question: at what point does an artistic work cease to be a translation (linguistic, generic, cultural, temporal, or any other kind) of its sources and become self- sufficient? Many older adaptations and reworkings are no longer seen as such. For example, no one would reasonably suggest that Aeschylus's tragedies are pale versions of the "real thing" embodied 11 in the works of Homer and Hesiod or in the corpus of Greek myth; likewise, it would be difficult to argue that Shakespeare's plays obscure our appreciation of Plutarch or Holinshed, among other sources. Certainly we could counter-argue that Shakespeare and many other artists improve on their sources, but is Julius Caesar really better than Plutarch's biography? Is Coriolanusl Or are they different in a way that makes such comparisons of quality meaningless? Of course, such older reworkings have become fully assimilated in their own right, even supplanting their sources. Perhaps more importantly, they may be less likely in academic eyes to be seen as theatrical works based on written originals, simply because in an academic context canonical playscripts are more likely to be read and discussed as written objects themselves than as works of theatre; in other words, they have themselves become "real things." Two pivotal moments of this process of reification in the English tradition are well described by Timothy Murray in the first part of his Theatrical Legitimation (23-104): the first, when the playscript came into its own as book thanks to the self-legitimating activities of Shakespeare's contemporary Ben Jonson; and the second later, when the critic Samuel Johnson used Shakespeare in promoting an essentially antitheatrical "fictional concept of genius" (98). In sharp contrast to the long tradition of dramatic theory stretching back to Aristotle, there is very little theoretical literature about the adaptation of novels to the stage. This seems natural enough, considering the relatively recent development of the modern novel as a prevalent poetic genre—this is not the place to discuss the problems of the Hellenistic novel in antiquity. However, it must also be remembered that historical texts (such as, for example, Plutarch) have been used as sources of dramatic adaptations since at least the Renaissance; and, considering both the tendency for premodern historians consciously to fictionalize history and biography, and the technique of most early novelists to configure their fictions as spurious histories or (auto)biographies, the actual 12 process of adaptation has possibly remained much the same since Shakespeare. At any rate, perhaps because of its early feigned similarity to a historical source, the modern novel was no sooner born than it was reborn on the stage. Richardson's Pamela was adapted repeatedly by French dramatists—most notably by Voltaire, under the title Nanine, staged by the Comedie-Francaise in 1749—and Sheridan transformed Defoe's Robinson Crusoe into a Drury Lane pantomime in 1781 (Hynes 118; McVeagh 137). This activity may have had a lasting effect on both genres: for example, Hynes tentatively attributes both the rise of the sentimental comedy and what he calls the Bakhtinian "novelization" of the drama to the adaptive activities of Voltaire and his contemporaries. Voltaire probably intended no such beneficial side-effects, incidentally, since he was "very hard on novels generally," and "unwilling to make exceptions for even the enormously popular works of Richardson"; the novel seems to have had its revenge on Voltaire, however, for Nanine became a favourite at the Comedie between 1760 and 1780, more popular than all but one of Voltaire's own tragedies (Hynes 118-119). As well-established as the activity of translating novels to the stage may be, then, it apparently has not yet generated enough theoretical writing to make it entirely respectable. By comparison, curiously, the adaptation of novels to film has generated a considerable amount of theoretical consideration, especially in the last two decades. The dearth of corresponding theory on the theatre is puzzling; it may be that the cinema is so young a genre that it is not expected always to generate its own texts. Only recently, at any rate, as the number of such adaptations has apparently increased in the last century (or perhaps because our sensibilities have become increasingly more finely tuned to issues of intellectual property, copyright, translation, adaptation and its near-relative, plagiarism), have theorists turned from the examination of particular adaptations to general statements about the art of adaptation itself. 13 The following model, outlining the most likely options for an adapter, is itself adapted from a more specific model: Roger Mirza's analysis of a stage version of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel El coronel no tiene quien le escriba (Nobody Writes to the Colonel), produced in Montevideo in 1988. Mirza's article serves my purpose because it describes the movement from the original narrative text (NT) through the dramatic text (DT—the playscript) to the performance text (PT—the production as mise en scene); I have augmented Mirza's observations particular to El coronel with examples from other adaptations, which also serve to give an idea of how common adaptations have been, especially in the last century, and how many notable names are among both the original authors and the theatrical adapters. 1. From Narrative Text to Dramatic Text In the movement from narrative text to dramatic text, Mirza observes, the "mode of presentation" changes from diegesis to mimesis, the diegetic narrative rewritten as dialogue and stage directions. This phase of the process is no mechanical conversion, but rather: fundamentally . . . a rewriting which involves a transcodification, though within the same linguistic system, capable of generating the conditions of a new production of meaning in accordance with the rules of the dramatic genre, i.e., of creating what Fernando de Toro calls 'matrices of representality or theatricality, which make staging possible.' This rewriting requires in particular "the disappearance of the narrator . . . [and] the reduction of all descriptive and situational aspects to scenic indications, gestural specifications, group and individual blocking, as well as indications of light and sound (musical) effects." (241-2)5 5 II en Porque no se trata simplemente de convertir mecanicamente en estilo directo lo que estaba estilo indirecto en el relato o de rescatar de las descripciones y situaciones los acotadores necesarios para el texto dramatico. Sino fundamentalmente de una reescritura que implicara una transcodificacion, aunque siempre dentro de mismo sistema linguistico, capaz de generar las condiciones de una nueva production de sentido, de acuerdo a las reglas del genero dramatico, es decir, de crear lo que Fernando de Toro llama las 'matrices de representatividad o teatralidad, que 14 This "process of recodification" is thus shaped by the general conventions of theatre which conform to the expectations of the intended audience; however (Mirza claims of El coronel), because the work originates in a narrative source, the conventions of narrative prose, while subsumed by adaptation, remain perceivable at moments as "traces of the previous narrative text." Whether these traces are always apparent in every adaptation, even to a spectator ignorant of the text's origin, is difficult to establish. Some adaptations try to show no sign of their source; many contemporary adapters, however, prefer to "maintain the narrative voice, substituting storytellers for characters," or even staging the action in a progression from left to right, mimicking the act of reading (Miller 433; the problem of the narrator in Kafka will be mentioned in the following section). At the same time, this recodification is completely subservient to the particular requirements of the final mise en scene (or PT) which change with the specific sociopolitical context of the production (Mirza 244). To these elements Mirza also adds the following: a) "The concentration of the entire action in a single space which may be described as 'polyfunctional,' and which, in the PT, is [the space of a particular theatre]."6 Mirza cites the Teatro Circular as a specific example which is explicitly "polyvalent"; this is the common strategy for a non-naturalistic production, in which the usually multiple locations of a novel hacen posible la escenificacion'.... La construction de esa matriz que tiene como linico objetivo en este caso, al texto espectacular, ofrece algunas particularidades la desaparicion del narrador,... la reduction de todos los aspectos descriptivos y situacionales a algunas indicaciones escenicas, con especificaciones gestuales, kinesicas proxemicas asi como la indication de efectos luminosos y sonoros (musicales)." 6 "La concentration de toda la action en un unico espacio del que se dice en la actuation que debe ser 'polifuncional' y que sera en el TE el del escenario polivalente del Teatro Circular." 15 may be portrayed most easily by a neutral space. For example, the Taganka Theatre's 1979 production of Bulgakov's Master and Margarita (adapted by Yuri Liubimov and V. Dyiachin) allowed 20th-century Moscow and first-century Jerusalem to occupy the same space, extending the theme of the novel by "introducing] the audience into an aesthetic universe concerned with permanent verities beyond time" (Rzhevsky 332). However, naturalistic productions have also been attempted, in which a single location or a small number of locations from the novel are reproduced and all action transposed to these locations or described as off-stage. Thus, for example, Henry James's novella The Aspem Papers is set in and around a Venetian palazzo, with a strong thematic opposition between inside and outside; but in Michael Redgraves's 1959 adaptation, the entire action takes place in the palazzo's parlour, which "becomes itself the dynamic locus of the conflict, the only place in which the opposed semantic areas of inside and outside meet. This occurs by means of a continual tension between represented and implied space" (Mochi 39-40).7 In some circumstances, the locations of the novel may be synthesized into a new location altogether. Orson Welles cannily solved the seemingly insuperable problem of staging Melville's Moby- Dick by presenting it as a rehearsal of an adaptation by a turn-of-the-century actors' troupe, allowing him to set the play "naturalistically" in an old theatre, though the play itself, now called Moby Dick Rehearsed, was in blank verse and staged in pseudo-Brechtian style (Maack 269). 7 "II testo di James, che pure elegge il salone a luogo di alcune delle scene principali, si articola tutto sulla opposizione Dentro/Fuori;.... Nel dramma invece, questa sorta di 'zona franca' che e il salone, diviene esso stesso il luogo dinamico del conflitto, la soglia su cui si scontrano le aree semantiche contrapposte del fuori e del dentro. Cio awiene mediante una continua tensione tra spazio rappresentato e spazio alluso." 16 Generally, both naturalistic and non-naturalistic productions tend to reduce the number of locations used by one means or another, chiefly in order to render the story easier to follow by the spectator (though technical and budgetary considerations also come into play, especially, as we have seen, in the case of naturalistic productions), i) "The concentration of the action on a few central characters."8 As with locations, novelists have free rein to create as many characters as they deem fit; but as with locations, considerations both of coherence and of budget restrict theatrical companies from following suit. Not only is it more logical aesthetically to reduce the number of minor characters and concentrate on those who are most important to the plot and theme, but it is also uneconomical to hire a large number of actors to play small parts—even if those parts are "doubled," that is, one actor playing two or more roles. Henry Bataille's and Michael Morton's 1903 version of Tolstoi's lengthy novel Resurrection reduced the book's named characters by two-thirds and its locations to six, in the process replacing Tolstoi's philosophy with stereotyped Russian local colour (which drew audiences more effectively; Cutshall 33). z) "The incorporation of characters, scenes and dialogue [from other sources or invented for the production] in order to enhance the action."9 In El coronel another of Marquez's short stories is used for this purpose, but new characters may also be created from scratch or by combining the functions and/or characteristics of figures in the novel who may be deleted completely in the adaptation (though their names may be assigned to the new characters or used to refer to off-stage characters). This is often a by-product of the necessary abridgement 8 "La concentration de la action en pocos personajes centrales." 9 "La incorporation de personajes, escenas y dialogos tornados de La mala hora para enriquecer la action . . . ." 17 that occurs in the course of adaptation, but may be done for its own sake, for formal or even for external reasons. Sheridan, adapting Robinson Crusoe as a pantomime in 1781, added Pantaloon and Pierot (the English spelling), and in the course of the action transformed Man Friday into Harlequin, who took over the second act to pursue his Colombine (McVeagh 140-147). In this century, D.E. ("Give Us Europe'"), adapted from Ilya Ehrenburg's novel D.E.: The Destruction of Europe by Mikhail Podgaetsky et al. and staged by Vsevolod Meyerhold in 1924, "added many extraneous characters and plots drawn from popular fiction" to a loose but lengthy revue-like extravaganza whose very looseness allowed con- stant revision in accordance with "shifting political and social climates"; in its various forms, D.E. ran until 1931 (Gordon 52). "The creation of new scenes . . . ."10 Again, the shortening and concentration of the action may result in the jettisoning of large portions of the original material, necessitating new links between the remaining scenes. These may or may not have their inspiration in the original novel. Jacques Copeau's and Jean Croue's version of Dostoevski's Brothers Karamazov takes the fourth of its five acts to "expand events which occupy only a dozen pages in the novel... to emphasize the tragic character of [Dmitri's and Grushenka's] situation,"11 while such well-known episodes as the story of the Grand Inquisitor are lost altogether (Le Marinel 256). In adapting Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby for George Cukor's 1926 production, Owen Davis concocts a prologue with no counterpart in the novel, in which Gatsby romances Daisy 1 0 "La creation de escenas nuevas . . . . " 1 1 "Cet acte developpe des evenements qui n'occupent dans le roman qu'une quarantaine de pages. L'importance donnee a cet episode, dans la piece, peut s'expliquer par l'intention de Copeau de souligner le caractere tragique de la situation de [Dmitri et Grouchenka] " 18 in 1917, thus bringing Gatsby on as soon as possible; Davis also extensively simplifies the novel's chronology, combining all of Gatsby's parties into one, for example, and giving Nick, diminished from narrative voice of the novel to a "minor player," scenes of pure exposition in conversation with his "elderly housekeeper, Mrs. Morton"—herself Davis's creation (Morsberger 494-5, 497). "The non-naturalistic use of space, superimposing milieux and locations, together with non- linear temporal development, involving leaps, parallel scenes, flashbacks, and fore- shadowing; and the reduction of Active time into shorter periods, such as the work's conclusion, which occurs over two days in the novel and which in the DT is wrapped up in the minutes required to read (in the PT, to speak) the final scene."12 The first part of Mirza's observation again obviously applies most clearly to a non-naturalistic production, such as the Taganka's Master and Margarita, mentioned above. It is also true, however, that even supposedly "naturalistic" theatre routinely telescopes and foreshadows events far beyond the possibility of the real world or of the novel, and can juxtapose parallel scenes quite easily by stationing two groups of speakers at opposite ends of a comfortably-appointed drawing room. The reduction of time in general is usually necessary in both naturalistic and non- naturalistic adaptations: the novel's scope is relatively easily mimicked, but its actual length would be beyond the spectator's patience. "The recontextualization of symbolic and emotional aspects by means of specific stage ' 2 "El manejo del espacio en forma no naturalista, superponiendo ambientes y lugares, asi como un desarrollo temporal en forma no lineal, con saltos, escenas paralelas, racontos y antici- paciones. Y la reduction del tiempo ficticio a periodos mas breves, como el final de la obra que lleva dos dias en la novela y que en el TD se resuelve en los minutos que demoran en leerse (pronunciarse en el TE) las frases de la ultima escena." 19 directions requiring other codes in the PT to suggest those aspects."13 Much of the material lost as verbal signs in the course of adaptation can be reintegrated into the PT by indicating the use of technological aids (lighting to suggest time of day or location; sound to represent off-stage activity or internal emotional states), or by indicating that specific thematic weight is to be invested in a particular prop, posture, movement, location or character (Mirza 244- 246). Thus in Copeau's and Croue's Brothers Karamazov, "while the novel's narrator [in two pages] describes Ivan's mixed feelings toward Smerdiakov, the scenic adaptation manages to express the same feelings [in two lines] with a few indications of movement and gesture: 'Ivan climbs two paces, then, as if involuntarily, turns back toward Smerdiakov, who has been following him with the same smile'" (Le Marinel 257-258).14 2. From Dramatic Text to Performance Text The second phase of the adaptation process is not so easily described in detail. The mise en scene itself involves, as its name implies, putting the work composed thus far into a real physical space, breaking the DT (which is still a purely linguistic construct) into the many codes of the PT. This process is determined not just by the adapter or director, but also by "cultural and theatrical conventions," and it involves the "incarnation of characters by (usually) living beings"—actors and/or technicians who are also individually responsible for many of the meaningful decisions made on 1 3 "La recontextualizacion de aspectos simbolicos y emocionales a traves de acotaciones particulares que haran intervenir otros codigos en el TE para sugerir esos aspectos." 1 4 "On voit que deux pages sont condensees en quelques lignes: alors que le narrateur, dans le roman, analyse les sentiments contradictoires d'lvan pour Smerdiakov, l'adaptation scenique reussit a exprimer ces memes sentiments grace a quelques indications de mouvement et de mimique: 'Ivan gravit deux marches, puis, comme involontairement, se retourne vers Smerdiakov qui le suivait avec le meme sourire.'" 20 stage. Because these individuals move and interact in "concrete situations," constantly making interdependent decisions, the PT can change enormously through the rehearsal process and continues to change in smaller ways during the production run (Mirza mentions only changes up to the actual production, but any production of more than one performance undergoes continual change until closing). Many (often I would say: most) of these decisions have no counterpart, and by their nature could have none, either in the DT or in the augmented version of the DT which Fernando de Toro calls the "Virtual Performance Text": that is, the Regiebuch or director's book, in which the director, with the stage manager's help, makes additional notations in the course of rehearsals. Thus the Regiebuch "does not constitute a 'text' at the same level as the DT or the PT" (Mirza 246-247; in addition, it is usually the DT, and not the Regiebuch, which is handed on for subsequent productions, with notable exceptions, such as the Berliner Ensemble). Obviously, the complexity of the performance text, with its multiplicity of codes and essentially collaborative nature, forces Mirza (and me) to fall back on semiotic generalities if there is no specific text under discussion. Beyond these generalities, then, examples will have to wait for the individual chapters of the body of the dissertation. Before moving on to the adaptations, however, I will briefly deal with their source. C. The Theatre and Kafka—Kafka and the Theatre "Someone must have traduced Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning."15 1 5 "Jemand muBte Josef K. verleumdet haben, denn ohne dafl er etwas Boses getan hatte, wurde er eines Morgens verhaftet" (Kafka 9). Translation by Edwin and Willa Muir; the shortcomings of the Muirs' translation have often been enumerated, but their version remains the one most likely to be recognized by an English speaker. 21 The novel is called The Trial, and these are its opening words, certainly among the most famous in world literature; the beginning of Kafka's story "The Metamorphosis" ("Die Ver- wandlung") must be as well-known or more so. And no wonder: both openings are striking, both plunge the reader directly into the action, and both are essentially the only exposition the reader is going to get. Once we accept these two statements, however unlikely they may be, as true, the events of their respective stories follow as inevitable—or at least, so Kafka convinces us. For many text-oriented readers and critics, then, these words naturally become more than a token of Kafka's narrative presence: they are the quintessence of the kafkaesque. The existence of the word kafkaesque is itself an indicator of the degree of recognition which is afforded Kafka, or rather, a well-established image of Kafka. The validity of this image is now contested: Milan Kundera, for one, has eloquently argued that Max Brod, Kafka's friend and literary executor, constructed a posthumous Kafka, a saintly, almost messianic religious thinker whose works, letters and life are to be interpreted spiritually and outside of all historical or literary context. This pseudo-Kafka, Kundera argues, and the self-propagating system of exegesis of his image which Kundera condemns as "Kafkology," serve as a "castrating shadow" obscuring the real novelist, Franz Kafka of Prague, and his achievements (Kundera 5). David Zane Mairowitz, in his Kafka for Beginners, agrees with Kundera that Kafka's being "widely over-interpreted" has "allowed the pork- butchers of modern culture to turn him into an ADJECTIVE" (emphasis in the original; Mairowitz and Crumb 5), as does George Steiner in his introduction to a recent edition of The Trial in English translation (Steiner vii). Though Kundera and Mairowitz exaggerate their case somewhat for polemic purposes, they do accurately describe the success of Brod and the first generations of Kafka criticism in creating and disseminating a popular image of Kafka as a largely esoteric writer whose works are difficult 22 and depressing, and can only be decoded by the expert. Befitting the view of Kafka's work as a form of spiritual dispensation, "Kafkology" is both personal—seeing Kafka's novels as allegories, whether religious or "atheistic, psychoanalytic, existentialist, Marxist[,]... sociological, political" (Kundera 3); and sectarian—critics from each of these persuasions do not often appreciate the approaches of critics from any other school. Despite this multiplicity of competing interpretations, which Steiner decries as "cancerous" (Steiner vii), the adjective kqfkaesque has filtered down to general usage, "irrevocably tied to fantasies of doom and gloom, ignoring the intricate Jewish joke that weaves itself through the bulk of Kafka's work" (Mairowitz and Crumb 5). Theatrical critic Martin Esslin defines the kafkaesque atmosphere thus: "Kafka's novels [describe] the perplexity of man confronted with a soulless, over-mechanized, over-organized world . . . more accurately and more truthfully than any purely naturalistic novel could have done" (Esslin 316-317). And further: "The images of Kafka's own sense of loss of contact with reality, and his feelings of guilt at being unable to regain it . . . have become the supreme expression of the situation of modern man" (345). Modern theatre's interest in portraying this atmosphere is understandable; and since the (some say unnatural) grammatical rigour of Kafka's writing and the minuteness of his description contribute to assemble clear and striking verbal pictures, as Esslin writes, "the directness of his narrative prose, the concrete clarity of its images and its mystery and tension, have proved a constant temptation to adapters who felt that it was ideal material for the stage" (356). Critics have certainly often agreed with these adapters: Jan Kott, for example, was inspired by the Barrault-Gide version of 1947 to write, "I was immediately struck by its 'theatricality.' I do not mean the theatrical qualities of the stage adaptation, but the intrinsic, natural theatricality of the story's substance" (Kott/Taborski 238). Even Kafka's friend and posthumous editor Max Brod recognized—here apropos of The Castle, which Brod himself adapted for the stage in 1953—that 23 "Kafka's genius as a dramatist appears in the tight and sharply drawn structure of each scene. Every word in the dialogue 'comes off" (from the programme for the Berlin production of The Castle; quoted in Politzer, Franz Kafka: Parable and Paradox 300-301).16 Nonetheless, there have always been severe critics of this strategy, bringing to bear what Kurt Klinger calls "traditional and shopworn reproaches of counterfeiting, banalization, oversimplification, willful manipulation, cheap showmanship, commercialization; with the ultimate goal of denying theatrical art the competence to deal with texts not primarily meant for the theatre" (Klinger 56).17 Among the foremost of these critics have been Theodor Adorno and Heinz Politzer. We have already seen Adorno's statement that "for works of art which deserve the name, the medium is not a matter of indifference." Despite his strong words, Adorno was not entirely against adaptation: he himself, as composer/librettist, attempted to adapt Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer as a lyrical drama. Nonetheless, as we have also seen, Adorno found the dramatic form unsuitable for Kafka's works because he believed that "[d]rama is possible only in so far as freedom—even in its painful birth-pangs—is visible; all other action is futile. Kafka's figures are struck by a fly-swatter even before they can make a move; to drag them on to the tragic stage as heroes is to make a mockery of them" (Adorno/Weber and Weber, Prisms 262-263).18 We might note here in passing 1 6 "Die dramatische Genialitat Kafkas zeigt sich hier darin, wie knapp und scharf jede Szene aufgebaut ist, wie im Dialog jedes Wort 'sitzt'—vor allem aber in der ganzen Anlage, die den Konflikt zweier Welten aufrollt" (Programmheft, SchloBpark-Theater, Berlin-Steglitz, 22, 1953/54, 13; in Politzer, Franz Kafka der Kunstler 425-426). 1 7 " . . . sehr hergebrachte und abgetragene Vorwurfe der Verfalschung, der Banalisierung, der Rudimentierung, der willkiirlichen Manipulation, der Effekthascherei, der Vermarktung, letzten Endes mit dem Ziel, der darstellenden Kunst abzusprechen, mit Texten umzugehen, die nicht primar zum Theatergebrauch bestimmt sind." 1 8 "Drama ist nur so weit moglich, wie Freiheit, ware es auch als sich entringende, vor Augen steht; alle andere Aktion bliebe nichtig. Die Figuren Kafkas sind von einer Fliegenklatsche getroffen, ehe sie nur sich regen; wer sie als Helden auf die tragische Biihne schleppt, verhohnt sie blofi" 24 that Adorno refers to the tragic stage, as if no other dramatic form were even conceivable; the fact that the adaptations described here often emphasize the comic aspects of Kafka's narrative text also antagonizes critics who consider comedy, in the words of Yvor Winters, "a minor form" (quoted in Barish, 443). Heinz Politzer attacks Max Brod's adaptation of The Castle (and his authorization of Andre Gide and Jean-Louis Barrault's staging of The Trial) by numbering it among Brod's "misinterpretations," claiming that Brod thereby contradicts his own assertion that "In the case of Kafka, . . . one simply cannot any longer separate content from structure, so intimately have they united" (Brod 195). In Politzer's view, this sentence alone should have been enough to dissuade Brod from attempting theatrical adaptation: If content and structure are inseparable in Kafka's novels and if the structure he chose for them is epical, then this structure cannot be dramatic at the same time. If Kafka's epical language is unique in its transparency, then it will not simultaneously "come off as dialogue on the stage, since the law of genuine dramatic speech requires first and foremost unequivocal precision. That Brod condoned the dramatization of Kafka's works and actively participated in this enterprise cannot be called a misreading. It is a falsification. (Franz Kafka: Parable and Paradox 301)19 Politzer's attack here, however, is based firmly in an idea of a "law of genuine dramatic speech" which might well reduce to silence many contemporary playwrights—among them, for example, Harold Pinter—and in an obstinate, almost petulant, refusal to grant that adaptation can ever (Adorno, Prismen 270). 1 9 "Wenn in Kafkas Romanen Inhalt und Struktur 'schlechterdings nicht mehr zu scheiden' sind und wenn die Form, die er fur seinen Inhalt wahlte, episch ist, dann kann sie nicht zur gleichen Zeit dramatisch sein. Wenn Kafkas Sprache 'ins Transzendente weist', dann kann sie nicht zu gleicher Zeit als Buhnendialog 'sitzen', denn auf der Buhne sitzt nur, was im Sinn des Dramatischen eindeutig oder, mit Brods Worten, 'knapp und scharf ist. DaB Brod die Dramatisierung Kafkascher Werke billigte und aktiv an diesem Unternehmen teilnahm, ist keine Fehldeutung mehr. Es ist eine Entstellung der Gestalt, die Kafka seinem Werk gegeben hatte" (Politzer, Franz Kafka der Kunstler 426). 25 be sanctioned, since epic is epic and dramatic is dramatic and never the twain shall meet (incidentally, the German word Entstellung, which Politzer uses for "falsification," can also mean "disfigurement" or "perversion of truth"; on the subject of Brod's and Barrault/Gide's theatrical adaptations, Politzer's German text, published three years after the English version, occasionally goes beyond the sharp and somewhat moralizing tone of the English to the point of being vitriolic). Despite such outcries as Politzer's, however, there is really no physical or formal barrier to the adaptation of Kafka's text to the stage; in the balance against such critics as Adorno and Politzer are more than fifty recorded theatrical versions of The Trial (Klinger counted "a round half-hundred" up to 1974; 57). It is true that there are gaps in The Trial where chapters remain unfinished; many extant fragments were never incorporated into the novel; and the order of the chapters, except for the obvious beginning and end, has been disputed—as we shall see shortly. Even in this form, however, the novel seems to lack very little. The critical consensus, indeed, is that the plot could be almost infinitely extended, since each episode ends with K. no further ahead than before (Rolleston 70; O'Neill 207). The book's lacunae cease to be a deficiency; it is, in a way, not only unfinished but unfinishable. Yet there is a definite beginning, middle and end: even by classical standards, there is no structural obstacle to theatrical adaptation. Nor do the play's events of themselves defy theatrical representation. In fact, Evelyn Torton Beck, in her book Kafka and the Yiddish Theatre, claims that several major plot elements of The Trial—the unexpected arrest, for example—can be traced to Yiddish melodramas (Beck 154-171). As for the inevitable abridgement that takes place when a novel is translated into a play: the middle section is a series of circular episodes, and just as they could be infinitely extended, so also can a few simply be left out without much damage to the plot. Structurally an adapter's dream; practically, an 26 adapter's nightmare. Because if the essence of Kafka lies in his words alone, the theatre has a problem: those famous opening words, and all the words that follow them, are inextricably tied to Kafka's narrative presence. This narrative presence, central to fiction, is one of those "advantages" of the novel described by Jager in his review of Berkoff s Trial. As Mirza points out, no such presence exists in the theatre; though its form may be aped by a chorus or interlocutor, we in the audience remain outside that figure, as we are outside all the characters on stage. The prospective adapter for the stage has to decide, at the very beginning of his or her labour, whether or not these words can be dispensed with. As it happens, of the adaptations dealt with in this dissertation, only one (ironically, Berkoff s) retains these words, in the mouth of a chorus; and they are postponed to the end of a lengthy introductory section (Berkoff, Trial 13). Sally Clark's version reduces them to the first stage direction: "One Fine Morning" (Clark, Judith K. 11), which is of course not directly visible to the audience, but must be represented for it. The critic who equates this narrative presence with the kafkaesque is quite simply unable to grant the validity of theatrical adaptation. The element lost onstage, in this view, is Kafka himself; or at least, the intensive yet problematic subjective viewpoint from which Kafka writes in all his work. In The Trial, for example, it seems that we share Joseph K.'s viewpoint almost exclusively. It is virtually impossible to tell when an outside narrator might be speaking (O'Neill 204). Thus Kafka's grammatical clarity is offset by an atmosphere of disorientation, produced primarily through specific syntactic strategies, as Leigh Hafrey explains: "In the narrative, Kafka alternates with no apparent motive between relative clauses and phrases that simply repeat the subject, shifting between hypo- and parataxis in a way that makes it difficult to gauge how close the narrator is to the story and specifically to K., the most plausible candidate for the role of narrator in the text" (Hafrey 45). 27 Furthermore, Gerhard Schepers, addressing the difficulty of translating Kafka not into theatre but into Japanese, remarks that the existence in Japanese of an enormous number of pronouns and verb forms creates almost insoluble problems with regard to the narrative perspective of Kafka's stories. Whereas in his texts it is usually difficult to say clearly to what extent the description reflects the attitude, feelings and thoughts of the protagonist or is an authorial narration (though the former usually prevails), a Japanese translator can normally only express one or the other, and not the combination of both that is so characteristic of many of Kafka's texts. (56) Whether this combination is—as many critics claim—the deliberate product of Kafka's hard work, or, as Hafrey suggests, symptomatic of hasty writing and careless revision (Hafrey 44-45), the effect is to produce what Roy Pascal calls "the absence of an authoritative voice" (Pascal 29). I would suggest, however, that in this regard, the theatrical adapter may well have the advantage over the hapless Japanese translator, since the theatre has the option of using non-verbal means to convey this very difficulty—if, in theatrical terms, it is a difficulty. In general, it is often not the absence, but rather the presence of a authoritative voice which causes problems for adapters: if authorial, the narrative voice tends to be omniscient, requiring large amounts of exposition to be transformed into improbable or clumsy dialogue; if fictional, the characterization implicit in the ongoing narration can be difficult to reproduce onstage (this is the challenge faced by adaptations of Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, for example [Hutchings 40-41]), or the privilege naturally enjoyed by a book's narrator is diminished to the level of the other characters onstage (as seen above with Nick in Davis's adaptation of Gatsby). In fact, the external yet limited narrative sensibility so common in Kafka may be perfectly served by the theatre, where a "privileged point of view cannot exist, other than that of the spectator (determined, obviously, by 28 the theatrical text in the broad sense), and this is circumscribed by the scenic space" (Mochi 43).20 Mochi's comment brings to mind Elisabeth Kiefer's remarks about the detailed observations in Kafka's prose of "gesture, posture, grouping of persons and tableaux," which Kiefer sees anticipated in the meticulous notes Kafka made in his diary of theatrical productions, and which demonstrate his "fine feeling for the tension between spectator- and stage-space." Kiefer goes on to say: "The immense importance of'watching' in Kafka's texts; his specific manner of writing as one watching, so that the reader as well is placed in the role of spectator; and the numerous figures who are characterized as observers and spectators, could find their explanation in Kafka's interest in the 'theatrical situation'" (266).21 The source of Kafka's inspiration has been located entirely in the theatre, especially by Evelyn Torton Beck, who traces his "breakthrough" as a writer to the impetus given him by seeing a troupe of Yiddish actors. Beck, in her study Kafka and the Yiddish Theatre, further argues that exposure to theatrical rhetorical strategies and structures marked Kafka's mature work indelibly (8- 11); although she concentrates on the inspiration of the Yiddish theatre, Kafka was a theatregoer and a reader of wide interests, who also admired Goethe and Schiller, Strindberg, and Hofmannsthal. Walter Benjamin asserts that, like Hofmannsthal (and before Hofmannsthal, Calderon), Kafka uses the idea of the theatrum mundi; only in Kafka this idea is all-pervasive: "Kafka's world 2 0 "Non puo esistere, a teatro, un punto di vista privilegiato, se non quello dello spettatore (determinato, owiamente, dal testo teatrale in senso lato), ed esso e circoscritto dallo spazio della scena." 2 1 "Kafka zeigt ein feines Gespur fur die Spannung zwischen Zuschauer- und Buhnenraum. . . . Die immense Wichtigkeit des 'Zuschauens' in Kafkas Texten, sowohl die spezifische Schreibweise als Zuschauender, wodurch auch der Leser in die Zuschauerrolle versetzt wird, als auch die zahlreichen Personen, die im Text als Beobachter und Zuschauer charakterisiert sind, konnte in dem Interesse Kafkas an der 'theatralen Situation' ihre Erklarung finden." 2 9 is a world theater. For him, man is on the stage from the very beginning" (Benjamin/Zohn 124). And it is from the very beginnings of theatre that critics have found influences in Kafka's writings. Lewis Leadbeater, for example, sees in Kafka's 'breakthrough' story "The Judgement" ("Das Urteil") traces not of Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus, as might be expected, but rather of Euripides' Hippolytus, and he analyzes the story in the dramatic terms of hamartia and ate (that is, ordinary "sin" and "sin caused by divinely-sent recklessness"; 28). Meanwhile, the Renaissance Italian commedia dell'arte is seen as a powerful influence on modernity in general by Martin Green and John Swan, but they see concrete "commedic" signs, as they call them, in the author Kafka's very physical appearance, as well as in the conclusion of The Trial, "one of the most brilliant and moving pieces of commedia fiction we have" (255-257). In fact, Gerd Jager's opinion notwithstanding, critics have found The Trial to be a hotbed of theatrical elements. The novel is, itself, "Joseph K.'s Theatre" (Das Theater Josef K.s; Kurz 178- 193): its very structure, with its circular pattern, not only mimics the repetitive nature of theatre but questions the Western idea of "construing narrative fiction on the model of a process of becoming" (Baldo 12); what is in fact repeated within this structure is Joseph K.'s original arrest, which K. constantly "re-enacts" in various ways for different audiences, "like the obsessive fixation of an 'arrested' psychotic" (Brantlinger 35-36); this is because K. consciously chooses, in the novel's first scene, "to act out the role of a man with a position to defend" (Rolleston 73); but, unfortunately for him, in The Trial, "as in the classical tragedy, the chorus knows more than the hero. . . . If the accused is blind, the public is clairvoyant" (Ramos 113).22 Even the physicality inherent in the novel's actions is seen as theatrical. Mark Anderson, in 2 2 "Como en la tragedia clasica, el coro sabe mas que el heroe . . . . Si el acusado es ciego, el publico es clarividente." 30 his book Kafka's Clothes, has demonstrated the importance of clothing as a thematic signifier in Kafka's work as a whole—in the theatre, this is of course known as 'costuming'—and also points out, in the chapter on The Trial, the influence of contemporary theories of stereotyped criminal physiognomy, totally reliant on externals. Kafka reacts against these theories by creating the equally externalized idea of "the attractiveness of the accused" (145-172). This very attractiveness, Rafael Angel Herra writes, makes Joseph K. "beautiful and ugly"—hello y feo—at the same time, which recapitulates the constant alternation in the book between the grotesque and the horrible: "This alternation produces a theatrical effect: in other times, wasn't the public execution perhaps a spectacle? In the text, however, this grotesque theatricality results in dilution on the one hand and, paradoxically, in cruelty on the other" (160).23 This physicality is carried through the novel in many ways: Monique Moser-Verrey isolates the body movements of the two figures in the "Before the Law" segment of The Trial and demonstrates that the three major steps of this "choreography" (which she designates exchange of position, negotiation, and combination/paralysis) are also played out through the course of the novel (343-344). Even the hand gestures used by the characters are of thematic importance; Philip Grundlehner has found over a hundred examples in the book to demonstrate that hands "function insidiously to provoke, seduce and deceive Kafka's Josef K. into predicaments where he loses his resolve and must ultimately struggle to maintain his human identity" (187). Grundlehner explicitly designates this use of gesture as "theater in its most elementary of forms, for it is inarticulate and presented mimetically to suggest its universal significance" (192), and proposes that it "enhance[s] 2 3 "Lo grotesco se intercambia con el horror en toda la novela. El acuchillamiento produce un efecto teatral: ̂ en otros tiempos la ejecucion piiblica no fiie acaso un espectaculo? En el texto, sin embargo, esta teatralidad grotesca logra un resultado de atenuacion, por un lado, y paradojicamente de crueldad, por el otro." 31 the dramatic qualities of the novel as well as form[s] a substructure of language occasionally as polysemous as the story itself (194). Concerning the polysemic nature of The Trial even as novel, Maria Rosa Franzoi Deldot writes: "The signs of the trial teem and multiply to the sole end of concealing reality or, perhaps, to give the illusion of a reality which does not exist" (59).24 What clearer definition of the theatre could there be? When The Trial is read in this manner, then Gerd Jager's complaint immediately loses its validity, for to the claim that you "can throw Kafka's Trial open anywhere you like to prove that it isn't suited to be the basis for a theatrical event," the most fitting reply is, in the words of Jorg W. Gronius, "The thrown-open book is, as it were, the opened stage" (quoted in Kiefer, 277).25 It would seem, then, that the theatre has more than enough technical means to convey Kafka's theme: if the adapter does no more than attempt to reproduce this linguistic polysemy by other sign- systems on the stage, he or she will already have a much clearer plan of attack than the vague mission of capturing Kafka's atmosphere. Indeed, as Elisabeth Kiefer writes, those adaptations "which translate Kafka's radical use of language into a radical theatrical or cinematic experiment are preferable to those which collapse into cliches such as 'kafkaesque' or 'expressionistic'" (261).26 What is more, once the theatrical experience is seen as a basis and inspiration for Kafka's work, it can be argued that his subsequent influence on the theatre, and the theatrical adaptation of many of his works, are in a sense a return to origins, even in some cases a triumphant return; Esslin 2 4 "I segni del processo pullulano, si moltiplicano al solo scopo di nascondere la realta o, forse, per dare l'illusione di una realta che non esiste." 2 5 "Das aufgeschlagene Buch ist gleichsam die geoffnete Szene." 2 6 " . . . die Bearbeitungen, die Kafkas radikale Sprachfuhrung in ein radikales Theater- oder Filmexperiment tibersetzen, denen vorzuziehen sind, die in Klischees wie 'kafkaesk' oder 'expressionistisch' verfallen." 32 claims, for example, that Andre Gide and Jean-Louis Barrault's 1947 adaptation of The Trial "was the first play that fully represented the Theatre of the Absurd in its mid-twentieth-century form" (356; because Esslin is the originator of the term "Theatre of the Absurd," it is of course possible that, in working out his thesis, he fit his criteria to this particular production, rather than vice versa). From that time to the present, Kafka's general influence has been both evident and acknowledged in the work of playwrights such as Gide, Ionesco, Genet, Pinter and Vaclav Havel (23; 261; 324). My limited ambition, however, is to deal only with a specific manifestation of Kafka's influence on the theatre: four adaptations, separated linguistically, united in their common source, Kafka's Trial. These adaptations have been chosen according to three main criteria: first, they were written in German, French or English, languages accessible to me in the original—and thus, for example, Jan Grossman's Czech adaptation is not included; second, they are published and generally available to readers—this excludes the intriguingly titled but apparently unpublished Irish adaptation The Temptation of Mr. O, by Cyril Cusack; and third, they are the products of acknowledged playwrights and/or directors who also wrote original works and yet chose to adapt Kafka's novel, and who may be presumed to have a certain amount of expertise in the practical theatre—adaptations written by professors for school performances (as one American version, The Scapegoat) or by theatrical dilettantes would also be rewarding subjects for analysis, but are not represented here. I will examine, in the following chapters, why and how the adapters I have chosen use Kafka, under the guise of understanding him, to their own ideological and artistic ends. In so doing, they simultaneously mediate Kafka and use him as a medium for their own messages about their contemporary historical, cultural and geographical situations. 33 D. The Plot, Form and Structure of the Novel The plot of the novel is in its outline simple: the bank executive Josef K. awakens one morning to find himself arrested, though he has committed no crime. Oddly, the arrest does not prevent K. from carrying on his life. He visits his neighbour Fraulein Biirstner, both to solicit her help and to initiate a relationship with her, but her response is diffident. K. attends his first hearing that Sunday; when it devolves into chaos, K. leaves in disgust. He returns a week later to find that there is no session. In the meantime, K. finds it impossible to contact Fraulein Biirstner again. In a storage room at the bank, K. discovers his warders from the arrest being whipped for going through his clothes. Afraid that his superiors will discover that he is accused, he leaves the warders to their fate. K.'s uncle then takes him to see the lawyer Huld, whose nurse, Leni, seduces K. K.'s case makes little progress in succeeding months; increasingly preoccupied, he falls behind in his work. At last, one of his clients gives him the name of the court painter, Titorelli. However, at the painter's stuffy loft, K. discovers that acquittal is practically impossible, and deferral of proceedings merely temporary. K. decides to dismiss Huld, and when he does so, the lawyer and Leni humiliate another client, Block, to show K. how most accused are treated. Arriving at the local cathedral to show an Italian client around, K. is instead interviewed by the priest, who criticizes him for seeking help from women and describes the workings of the law in a lengthy parable (often published separately as "Before the Law"). Finally, a year after his arrest, K. is greeted by two strangers whom he understands to be his executioners. He goes with them to a deserted spot where they lay him down and kill him with a kitchen knife. The novel unfolds in ten chapters, some of which are further divided into titled sections. The novel's German title, Der Prozefi, is a pun: because the word can mean either "trial" or "process," it both draws attention to the fact that K.'s trial never actually arrives (compare Waiting for Godot), 34 and describes the process of mental and social breakdown which K. endures before resigning himself to his death. The processual aspect of the narrative is reflected in the episodic form of the plot: each chapter leaves K. no further ahead than before, and just as there is no actual trial, so also there is no conventional climax to the action. This structure constitutes the text which is the object of the adaptations in question here, and which has often been so hotly defended from the encroachment of the theatre. Ironically, however, this text is itself contested as a site of meaning. Kafka left his novel unfinished and disordered and moved on to other work; only a decade later, after his death, were the notebooks containing his manuscript gathered together and edited into publishable form by Max Brod. The chapters were not composed by Kafka in chronological order, nor did he necessarily finish one before commencing work on another, leaving completed and uncompleted chapters scattered over several notebooks. Brod ordered the finished sections as he thought fit for the first edition of 1925; in later editions he added as an appendix the unfinished chapters and variants of sections from the finished work. Table 1 shows the structure given by Brod to The Trial, as solidified in the third edition (1946), with numbered chapters, titled sections, and unfinished chapters in the appendix. The relative sizes of sections are also given in the form of number of pages per section. Table 1. The Structure of Kafka's Trial as edited by Brod Chapter Section Title (Number of Pages) I The Arrest (18) Conversation with Frau Grubach (5) Fraulein Burstner (10) II First Interrogation (19) III In the Empty Courtroom (7) The Student (8) The Offices (13) IV Fraulein Biirstner's Friend (9) V The Whipper (8) VI K.'s Uncle (17) Leni (6) VII Lawyer (18) Manufacturer (13) Painter (29) VIII Block, the Tradesman (20) Dismissal of the Lawyer (17) IX In the Cathedral (28)* X The End (7) t On the Way to Elsa (2) * Journey to His Mother (5) t Prosecuting Counsel (8) t The House (6) t Conflict with the Assistant Manager (7) t A Fragment (1) t= Unfinished Chapter * = Contains the Parable "Before the Law" 36 The structure of the novel as laid out in Brod's edition can easily be represented by substituting letters of the alphabet for the chapters and fragments. Here, for example, upper-case letters represent the finished chapters and lower-case letters represent the fragments as arranged in Brod'sappendix: A/B/C/D/E/F/G/H/I/J/k/l/m/n/o/p. Considering the tendency of adapters to rearrange the sequence of events when moving from narrative text to dramatic text, it is important to draw attention to the fact that Brod's arrangement of the chapters has become increasingly controversial. As early as 1957, Dutch scholar Hermann Uyttersprot drew attention to the fact that in Brod's edition, the seasons of the year occur in the wrong order. Brod's counterargument was that in his novel, Kafka simply had no interest in the natural progression of seasons. Other critics took Brod's part with variations of this argument (see for example Gunvaldsen); but the controversy was not stilled, and Uyttersprot's suggestions for re- ordering the chapters have been taken up and elaborated by successors. Most recently, Christian Eschweiler has put forward a division of the novel into nineteen chapters, integrating not only the fragments in Brod's appendix but also the separately published story " A Dream" ("Ein Traum"; long recognized as part of The Trial but never integrated into it, and represented here by an asterisk) as follows: A \ /m /A2 /D /B / C/E/k/F/p /o /1/G\ / G2 /H / n/l / */ J. Eschweiler's interpretation of the novel depends, of course, on the presumption that all the surviving chapters and fragments would have been used in Kafka's final version—as debatable a presumption as the claim that Kafka took no interest in the seasons. Eschweiler's ordering, however, has been considered viable enough that at least one introduction to the primary and secondary literature concerning Kafka recommends it as an improvement on Brod's edition (Dietz 92). The preparation of a full critical edition of The Trial by Malcolm Pasley was expected, i f not to confirm Eschweiler's hypothesis, at least to place Brod's edition in serious question (88-89). 37 Pasley himself had made statements anticipating radical changes in the chapter order (Eschweiler 15-16); but when the edition appeared in 1990, to the surprise and disappointment of Eschweiler and others, it reproduced Brod's order in every detail except one, declaring the previously uncontroversial fourth chapter, "Fraulein Biirstner's Friend," unfinished and relegating it to the appendix with the other fragments. By contrast, the eighth chapter, "Block, the Tradesman/Dismissal of the Lawyer," has always been recognized as unfinished, but has never been removed from the body of the narrative; Pasley regards it as "almost finished," and admits that the fourth chapter might not be far from complete, which is evidently not enough to justify its retention (Pasley 125). Disappointment with Pasley's edition ran high enough that a rival edition, reproducing the original manuscript as left by Kafka, has been launched by K. D. Wolff and Stroemfeld Verlag (Whitney 24). The question therefore remains very much open whether the most widely disseminated version of The Trial conforms to Kafka's vision of the text, or whether it has been corrupted—perhaps irretrievably—by Brod and his successors. This controversy has had virtually no effect on a general readership, especially the wide audience who can read Kafka only in translation. In 1992, for example, two years after Pasley's edition, the Schocken republication of the Muirs' English translation from Brod's original still proudly bears the subtitle "The Definitive Edition"—despite its own introduction, in which George Steiner acknowledges that the ordering of chapters is disputed, dismisses Brod's recension as "amateurish and... arbitrary" and proclaims "Muir's reading and the translation which it underwrites . . . distinctly his" (thereby also neatly effacing Willa Muir's contribution; xii). The competing translation, by Douglas Scott and Chris Waller (Picador, 1977), makes up for not being "Definitive" by announcing on its back cover that it "adheres with scrupulous fidelity to the tone and the style of the original German." As for the chapters, the introduction by J. P. Stern proclaims off-handedly 38 that although disputed, "the order hardly matters" (11). The fact that these disputes have taken place mainly in the rarified reaches of Germanic literary scholarship, and are otherwise relegated to cursory mention at most, does not lessen the irony of their implications for critical approaches which seek to defend Kafka's text from theatrical adaptation on the grounds of a sacrosanct original text. None of the adaptations presented here, incidentally, offers as radical a redistribution of the events, or as thorough an integration of the unfinished material, as Eschweiler's proposal—although two of the adaptations (Gide/Barrault and Berkoff) relocate the scene of K.'s hearing, and Weiss integrates some of the "Prosecuting Attorney" material, placing it exactly where Eschweiler suggests. Finally, two brief comments about nomenclature and translation: in the original German, Kafka's novel has been known since 1925 as Der Prozefi; however, Pasley's research and revision has reinstated Kafka's antiquated spelling of the word as Procefi, and this spelling is now becoming popular in the secondary literature. I have referred to the novel by its English title, The Trial, in this introduction. However, I want to minimize the confusion that would result from continually referring to Kafka's Trial, Gide's and Barrault's Trial, Weiss's Trial, and so on. Therefore, in the succeeding pages each work will be referred to by the title it bears in its original language; the characters' names will also vary slightly accordingly. The Andre Gide/Jean-Louis Barrault adaptation of 1947 will be Le Proces. Steven Berkoffs adaptation is The Trial (1970). Peter Weiss's versions are called Der Prozefi (1975) and Der neue Prozefi (1982). Sally Clark's versions are respectively Trial (with no article; 1985) and The Trial of Judith K. (1989)—easily abbreviated to Judith K. Kafka's original novel will consistently be Der Procefi, in order to prevent confusion with Weiss's adaptation, Der Prozefi—although my references are not to Pasley's recent edition, since the adapters under discussion had no access to it. Unless otherwise specified, all references to "Kafka" 39 refer to Max Brod's 1946 third edition: this is the first edition which includes the added apparatus of unfinished chapters, textual variants and editors' afterwords which were mined by adapters after Barrault and Gide. In this introduction, the original texts for all translated citations have been provided as footnotes, because much of the material has been unfamiliar to English readers but important to my theoretical position. In subsequent chapters, however, footnoted original text will only be provided for my translations of citations from works not available in English, or when an available published translation is imprecise or at variance with the original. Available English translations are cited as "Author/Translator" (for example, "Barrault/Griffin"); my translations of texts unavailable in English are cited as "Author/PM." 40 Paris, 1947: Le Proces The adaptation of Der Procefi by Jean-Louis Barrault and Andre Gide is the first recorded stage adaptation of Kafka's novel. While in a social context it both fed off and spoke to experiences which seemed to many people to have been foretold by Kafka himself, in terms of theatre history it is considered a major influence on what became known as the Theatre of the Absurd. It is also the product of not one, but two major talents, one a prominent litterateur, the other a great theatrical figure. As a result, the Barrault-Gide adaptation has attracted a great deal of critical attention, increased by the relatively long time period since Le Proces was produced. I attempt here to synthesize this huge amount of documentation into a coherent interpretation of several aspects of the production in its social and historical context, in the process often taking issue with the conclusions of previous critics. The Origins of the Collaboration Andre Gide and Jean-Louis Barrault apparently made each other's acquaintance in 1934 (Claude 486). In 1938 Gide submitted to Barrault a play called Robert, ou Vinteret general (Robert, or the General Interest), written four years before to be staged by Louis Jouvet. It was Gide's first full-length play not based on mythical or biblical sources—his most prolific period as a playwright had fallen long before, between 1897 and 1900—and Jouvet had found Robert an unfortunate mixture of two plays, one well-written in the grand style, the other socially conscious and botched (167-174). Barrault had just enjoyed success with a stage adaptation of Cervantes's Numantia, the second of Barrault's adaptations of novels; he had made his name in 1935 with the first, Autour d'une mere, 41 based on Faulkner's As I Lay Dying (Brown 405; Barrault/GrifFin 71). Barrault also rejected Gide's play, telling him forthrightly that it was "pretty weak, not worthy of him. . . . His answer was a phrase which has been a lesson to me: 'You may be right: / have spread my net too low'" (Barrault/Griffin 172; Barrault's emphasis). While Jouvet's rejection of Robert seems to have soured his friendship with Gide (Claude 485), Barrault's had the opposite effect: the two men were drawn to each other, Gide impressed by Barrault's youth and honesty, and Barrault struck by Gide's modesty despite his stature (Barrault/Griffin 172-173). This awkward beginning eventually led to the adaptation of Kafka's Procefi. Although Gide had read Der Procefi, and been impressed by it, in 1934 (Claude 214), the idea of adapting the novel for the stage first occurred to Barrault, who recalls that in 1939, he and Andre Masson had agreed that if war came, "everything would be bound to change, and that in any case, whatever the camps might be, we would be recognized by none of them. Neither by the right nor by the left: on all sides we would be considered as felons and outlaws. It was with that future in view that I penetrated into the world of Kafka" (Barrault/Griffin 102). Only a year later, however, Barrault—now a pensionnaire (associate member) at the Comedie-Francaise—realized that "there was no question now of going on working at Kafka's The Trial" (116). France was occupied, and the German Propaganda Office was "purifying" French publishers in accordance with the Nazi German model. In September 1940, one day after French Jews were ordered to carry identity cards, the first "Otto list" was published, banning 842 Jewish and "anti-German" authors and more than 2,000 titles. A blanket ban was also imposed on all Jewish authors, excluding scientific works, but including biographies of Jews by "Aryan" writers (Scheler 280-307). Kafka and his works were thus proscribed. This "purification" escalated, and in January of 1941, Barrault saw the number of his 42 colleagues diminished: the Jews at the Comedie were summarily expelled, and other societaires (full members) left in sympathy. Members of ambiguous background, like the Rumanian Marie Ventura, had to defend themselves (Ventura did so by pointing to her homeland's proud tradition of "virulent anti-Semitism"; Brown 424-425). Just over a year later, the first train from Paris to Auschwitz—bearing mostly Eastern European Jews without French citizenship—left on 27 March 1942 (Adler 3-14; Pryce-Jones 136). It was also in the spring of 1942 that Barrault and his wife Madeleine Renaud met up with Gide in Marseille. When Paris was declared an open city Gide, like many others, had fled to the unoccupied zone, where, in May of 1940, he records reading Der Procefi again: I reread Kafka's Trial with even greater admiration, if possible, than when I discovered this famous book. . . . His book defies all rational explanation; the realism of his images ceaselessly overlaps the imaginary, and I could not say which I admire more: the "naturalistic" transcription of a fantastic universe which, however, the minute exactitude of the images renders real to our eyes, or the sure audacity of the swerves into the strange. There is much to learn here. The anguish which this book breathes is at times almost intolerable, so that one ceaselessly tells oneself: this hounded being, it is I (Gide/PM, Journal 1939-1949, 50-51).27 Gide might well have felt hounded: as a former communist (his brief period of activism had inspired the ill-fated Robert) and an admitted homosexual, he could expect no kind treatment from either the German occupiers or from many of his countrymen, who were already blaming the loss of the war on a general debilitation of the nation caused in part "by reading too much Gide and 2 7 "Je relis Le Proces de Kafka avec une admiration plus vive encore, s'il se peut, que lorsque je decouvris ce livre prestigieux.. . . Son livre echappe a toute explication rationnelle; le realisme de ses peintures empiete sans cesse sur l'imaginaire, et je ne saurais dire ce que j' y admire le plus: la notation 'naturaliste' d'un univers fantastique mais que la minutieuse exactitude des peintures sait rendre reel a nos yeux, ou la sure audace des embardees vers l'etrange. II y a la beaucoup a apprendre. "L'angoisse que ce livre respire est, par moments, presque intolerable, car comment ne pas se dire sans cesse: cet etre traque, c'est moi." 43 Proust" (Perrault and Azema 15; Ragache and Ragache 235). The openly expressed homophobia of the Nazis and the collaborators was a strong reminder of Gide's vulnerability. The unoccupied zone was no more convivial, and when Barrault and Renaud met him in Marseille, Gide was dealing with the Vichy bureaucracy, getting the necessary visas to leave for Tunisia. At this meeting, Barrault apparently proposed not only that Gide help him adapt Kafka, but also that Gide complete a translation of Hamlet he had started twenty years before. The mere presence of Barrault and Renaud encouraged Gide, who was willing to start on Hamlet almost immediately. By 5 May, however, when he left Marseille, the endless paperwork had returned Gide's thoughts to Kafka: "All of this very Kafka. Without letup, I dream of The Trial. Feeling of not yet being 'in order.' If it took this many formalities to die . . . That would make an admirable story. 'You can't go like that..."' (Gide/PM, Journal 1939-1949 116).28 Hamlet was nonetheless the first order of business: Gide finished his translation on 1 September 1942 (130). In the meantime, the second "Otto List" of July 1942 had proscribed his books on the Soviet Union, for obvious reasons (Loiseaux 70). Under these circumstances, Gide felt safer in Tunis, despite being much nearer the actual combat of the North African campaign. He moved from Tunis to Algiers in June 1943, but not until well after the Liberation did Gide return to Paris. At their meeting, Barrault had also spoken of his desire to work with Jean-Paul Sartre. Gide, who admired Sartre, later suggested that Barrault and Sartre adapt Der Procefi, modestly adding that he himself was still willing: "What a role for you!" wrote Gide to Barrault on 12 September 1942. 2 8 "Tout cela tres Kafka. Je songe sans cesse au Proces. Sentiment de ne pas encore 'etre en regie.* S'il fallait autant de formalites pour mourir. . . De quoi construire un conte admirable. 'Vous ne pouvez partir comme ga... "' 44 "One word from you about it and I shall take up the work" (Claude/PM 214).29 Barrault accepted Gide's offer enthusiastically; nonetheless, with the war still undecided, neither Gide nor Barrault took further steps towards the adaptation in the next three years. By the end of the war, Barrault was a full societaire at the Comedie, with the leverage to pick his projects. As a sign of good faith, he staged Gide's 1921 translation of Antony and Cleopatra, revised and completed in 1937-1938 (199-200). Gide happily authorized this production from his self-imposed exile; he wrote to Dorothy Bussy that he would have liked to attend rehearsals, but preferred not to be in Paris even post-liberation: "That atmosphere of hatred and lies would be intolerable to me" (206-207).30 Barrault kept Gide apprized by mail until the latter finally returned to Paris on 13 May 1945, and was favorably impressed by the production, though not by the actors. Gide's translation received many good reviews, but Louis Jouvet called it "hardly dramatic" and said, "His text reads well but it can't be spoken" (207).31 Jouvet's opinion of the production itself was also scathing: "La grande maison," he wrote to Roger Martin du Gard about the Comedie, "is going more and more off the rails" (deraille de plus en plus; 207). This production nonetheless established Barrault and Gide as a collaborative team, and in the summer of 1945 Barrault wrote to Gide, "I would like . . . to work very closely WITH YOU on your Hamlet, so that once I begin the actual direction, I can be certain not to deceive you in any way" 2 9 "Ah! si Sartre tirait une piece (ou moi) du Proces de Kafka!! Quel role pour vous! Un mot de vous a ce sujet et je me mettrais au travail." 3 0 "Cette atmosphere de haine et de mensonge me serait intolerable." 3 1 "Sa traduction d'Antoine et Cleopatre est tres belle mais uniquement litteraire et peu dramatique. Son texte se lit admirablement, mais ne se peut pas parler." 45 (208; Barrault's emphasis).32 From September of that year, Barrault visited Gide every day, and together they went through the text word by word. This work occupied the whole of the winter of 1945-1946, interrupted only when Gide was absent from Paris. Meanwhile, in September 1945, de Gaulle had set up a commission to revise the Napoleonic statutes governing the Comedie-Francaise. The Societe des Comediens itself had not been allowed to elect representatives, and the resulting bad feelings among the actors were so palpable that once the new statutes were in place, the government allowed any unsatisfied actor fifteen days to leave the Societe, whose memberships were normally held for life (Barrault/Griffin 154-155). Barrault and Madeleine Renaud took this opportunity to leave and found their own company, the Compagnie Renaud-Barrault. Thus, Barrault chose Gide's Hamlet to open his first independent season at the Theatre Marigny on the Champs-Elysees, combining the role in which he had first had success at the Comedie (in 1942) with the novelty of a new translation. When Barrault now raised the issue of adapting Der Procefi again, however, Gide balked: he hesitated, Barrault remembers, "as any scrupulous person would; he said to me that the subject would be better suited to the cinema." Barrault's reply was, "It's just because cinematographic acting seems easy that one must avoid it at all costs if one wants to treat the subject afresh and in depth" (Barrault/Griffin 173). Gide remained doubtful, and Barrault offered to prepare a scenario on his own, which Gide agreed to hear before rejecting the proposal. In preparing his first draft, Barrault simply transposed dialogue wholesale from the novel. 3 2 "II me reste a vous communiquer un veritable desir. je voudrais des mon retour (en septembre-mi-septembre) travailler de trespres AVEC VOUS votre Hamlet, afin lorsque je partirai dans le travail proprement dit de la scene, je sois sur que de ne pas vous decevoir, en aucun point." 46 Nonetheless, a heated reading of this version by Barrault culminated in a chandelier coming loose from the ceiling—at the moment the final words were spoken—and hanging by the electrical wire above Barrault's head. This omen fired Gide with enthusiasm beyond Barrault's wildest dreams; and they took up Le Proces in the spring of 1946, while still going through Gide's Hamlet, working together just as closely on the new script (173). The two projects together meant Gide was devoting practically all his time to Barrault (Claude 210). It was fortunate for Barrault that Gide was now so enthusiastic, since the members of Barrault's and Gide's circle were not encouraging: "Madeleine [Renaud] was decidedly not warm. It seemed to her a crashing bore. Roger Martin du Gard, who was Gide's literary 'confessor,' kept ministering friendly discouragement." As for Louis Jouvet, he had been uniformly negative about Barrault's chances in general. He thought the Marigny a poor space, Hamlet dull and no good for a French audience (because "Parisians don't like ghosts"), Gide unsuited for the theatre, and any play referring to the occupation doomed—this last in reference to Salacrou's Nights of Anger (Les Nuits de la Colere), which Barrault was planning to produce; though Barrault, as we shall see, would also use Le Proces to this same end. When Barrault described his planned adaptation, Jouvet (who had never heard of Kafka) grew even gloomier: "Mon p'tit vieux—l don't want to discourage you—but you seem to me to be on the wrong tack. If one day you need help, you've always got your old brother. One last bit of advice: don't make long-term commitments. Beware of disaster" (Barrault/Griffin 159). Surrounded by nay-sayers, Barrault saw himself and Gide as co-conspirators: "We were two young people out of [Gide's novel] the Faux Monnayeurs" (173). Beforehand, his plans must have looked foolhardy indeed, but this thankless work paid off. Despite Jouvet's forebodings the Hamlet, the Salacrou, and Le Proces were all to be considerable successes for Barrault, contributing greatly 47 to his company's early financial independence (163). The press was uniformly generous in its praise for the translation of Hamlet; the close collaboration with Barrault refined Gide's draft into a simple text which lent itself well to performance, and exposed Gide for the first time to a real sense of theatrical writing (Claude 213- 214). The success of this production was not only an auspicious beginning for Barrault's company. It solidified his intention to build his company's reputation on the twin pillars of Andre Gide and Paul Claudel, whose importance to Barrault we shall see shortly; for Barrault, who all his life felt undereducated and awkward with language (Barrault/Griffin 36; Brown 351), had by now "acquired a taste for using, for my 'avant-garde' explorations, scripts by real writers" (Barrault/Griffin 173). It was on this foundation that Barrault and Gide now devoted themselves full-time to their adaptation of Kafka, proceeding as they had with the Hamlet, going through the text together word by word. The Problem of Authorship Despite this history, since the play first appeared, critics have tended to refer to the playscript of Le Proces as the work of Gide alone. Max Brod himself, for example, though he had authorized the adaptation, presumably in communication with Barrault (175), refers in a brief footnote in his biography of Kafka to "Andre Gide's failed (verfehlte) dramatization" (Brod/PM 157; this footnote does not appear in the English translation). Maya Goth also writes of "Gide's adaptation" (Goth/PM 248), as do Manfred Schmeling (Schmeling 24) and Rebecca Vallette (91); and Renee Lang writes that Gide, especially in his maturity, is often seduced by intellectual forms contrary to his own. It is the dissimilarity, the difference that attracts him. Thus, by the time he finally completed his translation of Hamlet in 1945, he was further distant than ever from the Danish prince's manner of feeling. Likewise, his dramatic adaptation of Kafka's Trial in 1947 is, even more than testimony to literary admiration, the 48 contribution of an ethic diametrically opposed to his own. (Lang/PM 32)33 Even two of the most detailed analyses of the adaptation, by Ira Kuhn and Reinhard Kuhn (no relation), describe in similar terms Gide's lack of a "sense of the absurd" (R. Kuhn/PM 172)34 and his "subconscious need to rationalize" (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 229) as having a decisive effect on the dramatic text. Armgard Gerbitz occasionally mentions Barrault's contribution (for example, 15; 17-18; 40-41), but more often falls into the habit of using Gide's name alone. One of the few critics who gives Barrault precedence as adapter is Heinz Politzer, who is also among the most negative critics: Kafka's ever increasing fame produced imitators rather than genuine disciples. The most popular and the most misleading corruption of a Kafka hero was achieved by the French actor Jean-Louis Barrault when, aided by Andre Gide, he dramatized The Trial as a melodrama. With Barrault the Kafka hero became a withered dancer on the avenues of our sorrow, the charmingly evasive Hamlet of French existentialism after the Second World War. (Franz Kafka: Parable and Paradox 334-335) Interestingly, Politzer's own German version of this section, published three years later, is more expansive, but pushes Le Proces even further into the background (the following translation is deliberately quite literal and therefore clumsy): Certainly, that which grew, as the Kafka hero, into a striking equivalence of existential alienation and metaphysical hope, owes its effect to the attempts at popularization made by those Kafka interpreters who translated the essentially ungraspable nature of his works into the language of reason or its more or less tangible categories. What nowadays passes as "kafkaesque" or as the Kafka hero is little more than the slippery and slick reflection of a fragmentary legacy condemned by its own author to annihilation—a ghost bent over a misunderstanding. The Kafka 3 3 "D'ailleurs Gide, dans sa maturite surtout, est souvent seduit par des formes d'esprit contraires a la sienne. C'est la dissemblance, la difference qui l'aiguillonne. Ainsi, lorsqu'en 1945 il acheve sa traduction de Hamlet, il est plus eloigne que jamais de la maniere de sentir du prince danois. De meme son adaptation a la scene du Proces de Kafka, en 1947, est, plus encore que le temoignage d'une admiration litteraire, l'apport d'une ethique diametralement opposee a la sienne." 3 4 "Comme M. Mouton le disait l'autre jour, je crois, Gide n'avait guere le sens de l'absurde." 49 hero owes his final shape to the actor Jean-Louis Barrault, who in Andre Gide's and his own 'melodramatization' of Der Prozefi turned Josef K. into a boulevardier who moved like a dancer, the charming Hamlet of French existentialism after the Second World War. (Politzer/PM, Franz Kafka der Kiinstler 471)35 Politzer does not here express an opinion regarding such critics as Walter Kaufmann, Walter Sokel, R. M. Alberes and Pierre De Boisdeffre, who find abundant evidence of existentialism in Kafka, presumably without being duped by Barrault's adaptation. Ironically, in fact, Kaufmann's anthology Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre describes the parable "Before the Law," omitted from the Barrault/Gide adaptation, as "the broadest hint about [Kafka's] meaning and his method" (122). Nor does Politzer make clear exactly what Barrault's Hamlet and his K. had in common—other than Barrault, which for Politzer seems to be bad enough—although he at least gives the impression that he saw both productions. It is clear, however, that as Adorno did, Politzer objects to the attempt to give physical form to Kafka's "essentially ungraspable" (unfafibar) work. The two prevalent strategies at work among these critics would seem to be: a) either to ascribe the adaptation mainly to Barrault, whose status as a "non-writer" is underlined by associating him completely with Hamlet, a role definitely written by another (as Politzer does); or b) to ascribe the adaptation mainly to Gide, the "real writer," and emphasize the gulf between his 3 5 "Freilich, was sich da als Kafkascher Held zu einem einpragsamen Gleichnis von existentieller Ausgestofienheit und metaphysischer Hoffhung auswuchs, verdankt seine Wirksamkeit den Popularisierungsversuchen jener Kafka-Interpreten, die das essentiell UnfaBbare seines Werks in die Sprache der Vernunft und ihrer mehr oder weniger haltbaren Kategorien iibersetzt haben. Was heute als 'kafkaesk' oder als Kafkascher Held gilt, ist wenig mehr als der gleiBende und glatte Reflex eines fragmentarischen und von seinem Autor selbst zur Vernichtung bestimmten Nachlasses—ein Gespenst, das sich iiber ein MiCverstandnis neigt. Seine endgiiltige Auspragung verdankt dieser Kafkasche Held dem Schauspieler Jean-Louis Barrault, der in Andre Gides und seiner eigenen Melodramatisierung des 'Prozefi'-Romans aus Josef K. einen tanzerisch bewegten Boulevardier werden liefi, den charmanten Hamlet des franzosischen Existentialismus nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg." 5 0 own and Kafka's sensibility, as most of the other critics do—though Ira Kuhn, as we shall see, goes on to maintain that Barrault ruined the script even further in production, to Gide's chagrin. The fact is, however, that neither of these strategies of oversimplification is completely tenable. Barrault described the collaboration with Gide as "dovetailing our respective contributions closely," and acknowledged that Gide helped cut Barrault's original lengthy draft (which Barrault calls "le monstre") down to manageable size: "My defect is always to pack too much in. His was an extreme strictness, dryness even. We reached agreement halfway" (Barrault/Griffin 173). Gide's hand is also presumably evident insofar as the dialogue of the dramatic text is no longer Barrault's simple copying of the novel's dialogue; though the lack of Gide's usual formal and stylized syntax implies that he bowed to Barrault's experience in order to produce a text easily spoken onstage. Likewise, to place all the responsibility for the script on Gide is to ignore the fact that Barrault had intended to adapt Der Procefi since at least 1939. Since discovering Kafka in the mid- thirties, either through Madeleine Renaud (Barrault/Griffin 96) or Andre Masson (Barrault, "Le Roman adapte" 37), Barrault had taken the author so much to his heart that in his autobiography he interprets many of his childhood experiences, long after the fact, as preparations for entering "the world of Kafka" (see especially Barrault/Griffin 31; 38-39;46). Further, Barrault adopted a quotation from Der Procefi, Josef K.'s "Don't take things too seriously," as one of his personal mottoes. It was Barrault who went to great effort to convince Gide to collaborate on the adaptation; and Gide, for his part, was scrupulous in giving credit to Barrault in a preliminary note to the published text (although Ira Kuhn claims Gide's motivation was neither fair nor generous; I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 236). The great advantage of the second strategy, however, is that it allows the critics to maintain 51 that much of the compression and simplification of the narrative text in Le Proces is due to Gide's deep-seated rationalism, completely at odds with Kafka's sensibility (Politzer lays a similar charge, though he downplays Gide's role in the collaboration). As we have seen, however, Gide not only recognized that Der Procefi "defies all rational explanation," but found this admirable (Journal 1939-1949, 50-51). Thus it seems unlikely that Gide would seek systematically to destroy this quality. Ira Kuhn acknowledges that Gide recognized Kafka's irrationality but claims that he could not help himself: "[Gide's] attraction to it was surpassed only by his desire to suppress it" (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 229). In fact, I propose that this compression and simplification is no more than is necessary to the process of adaptation according to Mirza's model, and is as likely to stem from Barrault's dramaturgical instincts as it is from Gide's rationalism. Politzer's related contention—that Le Proces reflects the influence of French existentialism—is harder to dismiss: as Manfred Schmeling puts it, "Here Josef K. is forced into the role of existential hero" (Schmeling/PM 24).36 However, this is hardly a darnning charge against the adaptation. Although Gide is not generally considered an existentialist (despite the mutual respect between Gide and Sartre), and Barrault's philosophy was always a provisional mixture of superficial influences with a good deal of pragmatism, it is arguably true that by 1947, Kafka's reputation in France was highest among the existentialists and the absurdists, two related intellectual groups in the ascendant during and after the Second World War. Since 1928, however, when Kafka was first published in France, the author had passed from the hands of the surrealists led by Andre Breton, through those of psychological critics like Denis Saurat and Wladimir Weidle and then to such religiously-oriented commentators (following Max 3 6 "Josef K. wird hier in die Rolle des existentialistischen Helden gezwangt." 52 Brod's lead) as Daniel-Rops and Jean Carrive, before being taken up by existentialist and absurdist writers (Schmeling 24; I. Kuhn, "Kafka and the Theatre of the Absurd" 11-18; Goth 242, 123-137; Robert 316-318). Kafka so easily became a philosophical football because there was little biographical information about him—Brod's biography did not appear in French translation until 1945 (Robert 317)—and he seemed to have come literally from nowhere "as a citizen of some 'no- man's-land,' as a lonely man without antecedents, and about whom no one knew for sure in which language he had produced his works." Thus it was easy for the French not merely to adopt, but to "naturalize" Kafka, in a process "in which a new, French Kafka arose, far removed indeed from the real one"37 (Robert/PM 310), an "unfathomable thinker" who had no historical relationship to other writers or to any literary tradition (316-317). It is true that existentialists like Sartre at least emphasized Kafka's historically demonstrable religious aspirations—perhaps even overly so, Robert claims—whereas Camus saw Kafka as beyond any faith, "the pure hero of the absurd" (318).38 Despite Robert's (and Politzer's) disparaging tone, however, both existentialist and absurdist interpretations of Kafka's works became current and numerous. Rightly or wrongly, these two groups became the main streams of thought with which Kafka was associated during the Second World War and into the fifties (Schmeling 24). Certainly, Le Proces was perceived as an existentialist play by many contemporaries, as for example by Robert 3 7 "Kafka trat als Angehoriger irgendeines "Niemandlandes' hervor, als Einsamer, dem nichts voranging und von dem man nicht einmal genau wufite, in welcher Sprache er sein Werk verfaBt hatte. Da er scheinbar frei von jeglichen historischen und geographischen Bindungen dastand, wurde er ohne Bedenken adoptiert, ja man mochte fast sagen 'naturalisiert,' derm es war wirklich etwas wie ein Naturalisierungsprozerj, bei dem ein neuer, franzosischer, dem wahren allerdings weit genug entfernter Kafka entstand." 3 8 ". . . fur andere, wie Camus, war [Kafka] fiber jeden Glauben hinweg der reine Held des Absurden." 53 Kemp (6). It is difficult to see either how Gide and Barrault could have worked altogether outside this interpretation or how they can be blamed for working within it; particularly when the foundation of such an interpretation predates Le Proces—despite Politzer's implication that Barrault and Gide are greatly to blame for it. The direct influences on Barrault and Gide's adaptation are further complicated, however, by their source. Barrault spoke little German, while Gide's, though fluent when he was a young man, was no longer trustworthy: in his journal he admits, "I do not read German without effort and pain" (Vallette 88; Kingstone 167-8; Gide/PM, Journal 1939-1949, 62).39 Therefore, as the basis of their adaptation, Barrault and Gide used Alexandre Vialatte's 1933 translation (Robert 312); Vialatte was Kafka's first French translator, having translated "Die Verwandlung" ("The Metamorphosis") for the Nouvelle Revue Franqaise in 1928, only three years after Kafka's death. At this early stage Kafka's champions among the French were the Surrealists, who fastened on the dreamlike quality of Kafka's works (Goth 13-63). Because Kafka's first translators, including Vialatte, came from this group—and because they were poets rather than Germanists—Marthe Robert claims not only that their translations are exotic and heavily flavoured by the stereotyping of Kafka as a fellow surrealist, but also that they are extremely unreliable: the translators had no way of checking their work for accuracy, since they did not expect Kafka to make sense (312-314). Given this possibility, it might seem strange that an adaptation based on Vialatte's translation should be accused of being overly rational. Nonetheless, the use of Vialatte's translation was fortuitous for the two adapters (not that there was as yet another French translation to choose), since it may have been—for their specific 3 9 ". . . car je ne lis l'allemand qu'avec effort et peine..." 54 purpose—an easier text to work from than Kafka's original. In the course of translation, Vialatte had introduced what Gerbitz calls "visual clarification," changing the punctuation of the original to divide up the "long, rambling sentences used by Kafka," and altering the paragraphs to "visually set... off the dialogue from the action" (16). Vialatte also inserted speech attributions which were lacking—because unnecessary—in Kafka's text: the German subjunctive mood of indirect discourse (by which means literally pages of text can be clearly signified as citation of another's words) has no counterpart in French. In its place Vialatte used the French preterite and frequent reiteration of phrases like "the lawyer added" and "said Doctor Huld" (Schmeling 29). Gerbitz suggests that these considerable formal changes may have aided Barrault in preparing his original scenario (Barrault/Griffin 173), as well as smoothing the course of the collaborative process of adaptation. At the same time, however, thanks to the lack of a comparable subjunctive/modal system, "the French translation can only partially express [the] ambiguous narration which reflects Josef K.'s uncertain position in the world of the trial. Kafka, on the other hand, deliberately forced this congruency between form and content" (Schmeling/PM 28-29).40 Schmeling also claims that this problem was exacerbated by Vialatte's own interpretation of Kafka, which from the very first words led him to force his sentence constructions away from the "refusal, so typical for Kafka, to decide between hypothetical and affirmative expression" and towards a consistently affirmative tone expressed through the indicative mood (28).41 Schmeling thus insists that Vialatte's translation is grammatically too concrete, while Robert accuses the same translation of being lexically over-exotic 4 0 "Die franzosische Ubersetzung kann diese Ambiguitat des Erzahlens, die den unsicheren Standort Josef K.s in der ProzeBwelt spiegelt, nur partiell ausdriicken. Kafka hingegen hat diese Kongruenz zwischen der Ausdrucksebene und der Inhaltszene bewufit forciert." 4 1 "Die fur Kafka so typische Unentschlossenheit zwischen hypothetischen und affirmativen Wendungen verschiebt sich in der Ubersetzung des Satzes zugunsten der Affirmation." 55 and unreliable. These charges are confusing but not contradictory. The last word on Vialatte's translation is perhaps best left to one of Vialatte's successors, Bernard Lortholary, who retranslated Der Procefi in 1982: Alexandre Vialatte's translation not only includes local errors. It is characterized by a global inexactitude due to Vialatte's own talent and to his sensibilities as a writer. His original works show him in fact as a delicate humorist, always combining a light melancholy with the eccentric, or even a discreet pathos, haloed with disillusioned reverie.... Nothing is further from the black humour of Kafka, and from his limpid, severe phrasing, than this dreamy humour. Vialatte thus rendered the black with greys, the comical with the bizarre, the theatrical with the psychological. (Lortholary/PM 16)42 In general, then, Vialatte's translation was a mixed blessing for Barrault and Gide; certainly, to blame the latter two alone for misinterpreting the tone and atmosphere of Kafka's work—and not all reviewers and critics made this charge by any means—is both imprecise and unfair under the circumstances. Vialatte himself, incidentally, asked that his name be removed from the adaptation after reading it, because he disagreed with its interpretation of the novel: he apparently complained to Gide, "In Kafka there is something of Pascal and something of Voltaire. As a Catholic I find it hard to bear that you sacrificed the former to the latter" (Siepe/PM 95).43 Nonetheless, an article by Vialatte in Le Figaro appeared during the premiere week of Le Proces, kindly adding to the 4 2 "La traduction d'Alexandre Vialatte ne comportait pas que des erreurs ponctuelles. Elle est characterisee par une inexactitude globale qui tient au talent meme de Vialatte et a sa sensibilite d'ecrivain. Ses oeuvres originales nous le montrent en effet comme un humoriste delicat, melant toujours au farfelu une melancolie legere, voire un pathetique discret, nimbes de reverie desabusee. . . . Rien de plus etranger que cette humeur songeuse a l'humour noir de Kafka, et a son phrase limpide et dur. Traduisant Kafka, Vialatte a done rendu le noir par des gris, le cocasse par le bizarre, le theatral par du psychologique." 4 3 '"Es gibt in Kafka', sagte er zu Andre Gide, 'etwas von Pascal und von Voltaire. Als Katholik kann ich es schwer ertragen, da/3 Sie den ersten dem zweiten geopfert haben.'" The anecdote seems to be from the afterword of the German edition of Gide's collected plays; Siepe does not make its attribution clear. 56 publicity; and Vialatte's name remained attached to the adaptation, so it may be that this disagreement was smoothed over. It is also unnecessary to lay the blame (if blame it must be) for the perceived increase in rationalism and lack of the mysterious in the Barrault-Gide adaptation at the feet either of Alexandre Vialatte's translation or of Gide's failure to appreciate absurdity. Rather, I maintain, the source of most of the changes from the narrative text is Barrault's sense of dramaturgy, coupled with a historical and social background in which there was no need to see the events of Kafka's story as mysterious. In the next section, I explore that historical background and its possible effect on the adaptation, before moving on to problems of dramatic construction which might also have motivated or necessitated changes. The tense period of French history immediately following the war deserves some description, since the oppressive—and specifically legalistic—atmosphere which prevailed in the worlds of literature and entertainment, and among the public, form a much nearer historical context for the Barrault-Gide adaptation of Der Procefi. Life Imitates Art: the Purge and the Trial(s) Martin Esslin correctly writes of Le Proces: "Kafka's dream of guilt and the arbitrariness of the powers that rule the world was more for the French audience of 1947 than a mere fantasy." However, he is overly optimistic to write, "It came at a peculiarly propitious moment—shortly after the nightmare world of the German occupation had vanished" (Esslin 355). The Germans had indeed vanished, but the nightmare went on. Already toward the war's end, Free French radio from London was broadcasting dire warnings to collaborators, such as the following from April 1944, reminiscent of Josef K.'s predicament in grotesquely accelerated form: '"You are known, catalogued, labeled.' One day, or 57 one night, they'd come to get you. 'You'll turn green, sweat will pour from your forehead and down your back; you'll be taken away and, a few days after that, you'll be nothing more than a small heap of garbage'" (Lottman 90). During the liberation, these words came true for many alleged collaborators in the form of spontaneous lynchings. Officially, however, the bringing to justice of collaborators, known as the purge (I'epuratiori), was served by several legal bodies set up by decree: these included the Courts of Justice, the Civic Chambers, and the Governmental Commission for the Purging of Entertainment. Between them, these bodies directly or indirectly affected the lives of almost everyone in France. The Courts of Justice, operating in every city, consisted of one judge and six jurors each, rather than the three judges and twelve jurors traditional in French law; it was assumed that there were not enough uncompromised judges and jurors to go around (42-3). These courts were meant to exist only in the short term, but the sheer volume of serious accusations extended their term until the last Court of Justice finally closed in Paris in 1951 (162-163). The Courts of Justice were burdened only with cases of outright collusion. Since collaboration was no crime (and placing it on the books after the fact would have recalled Vichy methods), collaborative actions short of collusion were labeled indignite nationale—"national unworthiness"—and tried by lesser bodies called Civic Chambers, which could deprive those found guilty of professional status or of civil rights. Like Josef K., the defendant left the court free, whether found liable to sanctions or not; but the "petty" nature of the tribunal—in legal terms—encouraged truly petty accusations. In one case, a florist was prosecuted for sending flowers to the German Ambassador's wife (42-3; 164-165). The existence of these lesser tribunals did not keep public figures out of the Courts of Justice. Especially at the beginning of the purge, the press was full of reports about the arrests of the famous: 58 Le Figaro ran a regular feature, whose contents resembled a society column, under the headline ARRESTS AND PURGING—particularly eye-catching since newspapers were rationed to a single sheet per day. For those not inclined to read the papers, pamphlets were sold on street-corners listing collaborators who allegedly deserved to be shot (82-83; 78). In this atmosphere, a high public profile during the war became a liability, and a special Governmental Commission for the Purging of Entertainment was formed, empowered to enact sanctions forbidding a performer or journalist to work either temporarily or permanently. Approximately 140 sanctions were recommended by the Commission in its career, and the accused brought before it included such big names as "Fernandel, Mistinguett, Arletty, Maurice Chevalier, and Edith Piaf' (255-260). Meanwhile, in the Courts of Justice, faceless captains of industry who had contributed materially to the German army went unpunished—one construction firm was allowed to keep war profits of 360 million francs—while the more visible figures of entertainment and journalism, if charged with collusion, faced disproportionate retribution (Pryce-Jones 149; Rousso 20; Lottman 168; 217; 242). Jean-Louis Barrault, of course, had had an extremely high profile during the Occupation. The Comedie-Francaise had been greatly reduced; with so many actors of senior rank expelled or resigned, Barrault "had become [by May 1942] France's most illustriouspensionnaire" (Brown 426). His climb to fame, however, had involved some unfortunate compromises. In July 1941, for example, Barrault had commissioned and starred in Andre Obey's tragedy 800 metres, staged at the Roland Garros Stadium. 800 metres combined text read over the public address system with a staged footrace, based on the 1924 Olympics' 800-metre race; Barrault played the winning runner. While on the one hand the athletic theme was directly descended from the Artaudian physical dramaturgy in which Barrault had long worked, on the other 800 metres catered 59 unambiguously to the "cult of the body beautiful which the Nazi propagandists promoted through the pages of the daily press." In fact, in the collaborationist magazine Comoedia, which promoted 800 metres extensively, Barrault himself wrote approvingly of "the joy of effort," a phrase uncomfortably reminiscent of typical Nazi Kraft durch Freude ("strength through joy") pro-sport propaganda (Marsh 157-158). 800 metres served as curtain-raiser for a Barrault-directed production of Aeschylus's Suppliant Women which caught the attention of the Vichy government: Barrault was asked to organize a youth festival in honour of Marshall Petain, and accepted with enthusiasm (Brown 427- 428). Barrault has been accused of both political naivety and of opportunism, and he himself admitted that "I like to obey, perhaps from weakness of character" (428). By the end of 1942 Barrault had begun directing at the Comedie, and was offered a societariat, which he accepted. He then plunged himself into one of the most talked-about productions of the Occupation: Paul Claudel's Le Soulier de satin {The Satin Slipper). This massive mounting of Claudel's forty-year old script, pared from ten hours down to five, was rehearsed for almost a year. When it finally opened on 26 November 1942, Le Soulier de satin became the toast of Paris and ran for sixty performances. The spectators granted it fourteen curtain calls at its premiere, since they apparently recognized much in it: "The major themes of this difficult play, separation, heroism, sacrifice, coincided with much of the anguish of the French at that moment. It was an example, among many, during the Occupation, when the theater sustained the courage and faith of the people" (Fowlie 59). But Le Soulier de satin found favour with the Germans in the audience as well, thus joining a select company beside Montherlant's La Reine morte (1942) and Aj\ox\\Vrfs Antigone (1944), which also became hits with both occupiers and occupied (Pryce-Jones 166-167; Perrault and Azema 112). 60 Barrault, who before the war had felt he would be recognized neither "by the right nor by the left," was now lionized by both. Despite this unexpected success—or rather, because of it—once the war was over, Barrault might well have expected to find himself under suspicion. Again unexpectedly, however, he found himself legally in no danger. The Comedie could not begin rehearsals with any of its actors under suspicion, especially with its Jewish personnel now returning from exile; and so the company was allowed to set up its own purge commission, which opened on 28 October 1944. On November 6, Madeleine Renaud and Jean-Louis Barrault appeared before this commission and were told that "they had been found 'correct and loyal'" (Lottman 261). Legal absolution might not have set Barrault's conscience at rest, however, given that during the purge, his countrymen were likely to recall a star's popularity with the Germans more vividly than his or her fame among the French. The well-known and popular actor-director Sacha Guitry, for example, had openly socialized with the occupiers as "an ambassador of French culture"; but his privileged position had allowed him to liberate prisoners from the Germans, and to save the life, in October 1943, of arrested Jewish humorist Tristan Bernard (Ragache and Ragache 198). Guitry was one of the first alleged collaborators arrested; imprisoned with other arrestees at the Velodrome d'Hiver (a cycling stadium previously used as a holding pen for Jews awaiting transport east), he suffered both verbal insult and physical assault while awaiting a hearing. A poll by the French Institute of Public Opinion showed that 56 percent of respondents agreed Guitry should be detained—while only 32 percent wanted Marshal Petain punished (Lottman 92). Friends and colleagues, including Barrault, petitioned on Guitry's behalf, but he was indicted for collusion on 15 October 1944, only three weeks before Barrault was exonerated. He was released pending trial; as with Josef K., however, time passed without Guitry's trial ever arriving. He was finally informed in August 1947 that the case had been 61 dismissed. The Guitry affair was not the only occasion when Barrault directly involved himself in a collaboration trial; he also intervened in the most famous trial of the period by signing a petition (along with Paul Claudel, Paul Valery, Colette, and Jean Cocteau) to de Gaulle to commute the death sentence of unrepentent antidemocratic journalist Robert Brasillach (137-139). Where Guitry had used his fame to rescue prisoners from the Germans, Barrault traded on his to plead clemency for accused collaborators—including Guitry himself; where Guitry's attempts had borne fruit, however, Barrault's did not: despite the petition, Brasillach was executed on 6 February 1945. Meanwhile, Gide, still in Africa, was also touched by the purge when his publisher Gaston Gallimard was tried for being "host and sponsor of the German-endorsed Nouvelle Revue Francaise," and for obeying the dictates of the Otto List. Gallimard had, however, attempted to avoid publishing Nazi authors and concentrated on non-collaborators. Camus and Andre Malraux spoke on Gallimard's behalf; Sartre testified that Gallimard had allowed the use of his house for secret meetings. Gide luckily came no nearer the machinery of the purge; though he was sharply criticized by Louis Aragon for having published in the "new" N.R.F. journal extracts expressing the opinion that Hitler's victory "revealed the profound decay of France," and granting the advisability, even the necessity, of collaboration (Pryce-Jones 8). Perhaps most painfully for Barrault, his mentor Charles Dullin was called before the Commission for Entertainment in February 1945, "accused of writing for the violently collaborationist newspaper La Gerbe, and for changing the name of the Sarah Bernhardt Theater [to the Theatre de la Cite]." Dullin was exonerated because his article had no political content, and because despite 'aryanizing' the theatre's name under duress, he had successfully kept a sign on the door reading "ex-Sarah Bernhardt Theatre" for the duration of the occupation (Lottman 257). 62 Barrault—who had also published in collaborationist periodicals—may well have experienced pangs of conscience seeing Dullin charged with collaboration, given that in June 1943 Dullin had staged Sartre's Les Mouches (The Flies), a play originally "written at Barrault's instigation and with every assurance that Barrault would stage it after quitting the Comedie-Francaise" (Brown 436). Barrault's acceptance of the societariat left Sartre in the lurch; and although Barrault and Sartre outwardly remained on good terms, their differences apparently stood in the way of ever working together (Barrault 1972, 196). Moreover, Frederick Brown suggests that Barrault felt guilty because while "his erstwhile master braved the powers-that-were on behalf of a play about tyranny by a young intellectual, [Barrault] had committed his interpretative energies to the summum of an old man [Claudel] who endorsed Generals Franco and Petain" (Brown 436). This recounting is not meant as an indictment of Barrault; although many of Barrault's contemporaries had very firm ideas on the subject, no clear consensus exists regarding what exactly constitutes collaboration. It is easy to criticize Barrault from the safe position of both geographical and historical distance; likewise, private French citizens were quick to condemn their celebrities. Barrault's perspective, though, was no doubt that he was simply trying to go on doing what he already did for a living, and Kedward has pointed out that such a desire to carry on as normal "can be used to suggest either an almost treasonable indifference to the occupation or, on the contrary, a heroic determination to maintain French life and vitality in the face of the occupiers" (Kedward 14-15). Barrault suggests this latter interpretation in his own defense: "Was not the most correct behaviour precisely to live an upright life within one's own task? . . . During the Occupation there was only one recourse: to be active" (Barrault/Griffin 168). It is true that the romantic heroism of the Resistance was in practice simply unattainably dangerous for most Parisians: unlike in the rest 63 of the country, at any given time most of the resistance cells in Paris were in fact run by the Germans for the specific purpose of entrapment (Pryce-Jones 151-152). Even so, such actions as Barrault's participation in 800 metres seem to do him little credit (Marsh 161). Barrault appears to have been aware of this fact, as he mentions none of these last three projects in his memoirs; which does not necessarily prove bad intent on his part, but perhaps demonstrates that he was, indeed, not politically naive. Indeed, in the middle of his account of rehearsals for Le Proces, Barrault writes, as if out of nowhere, "My guilt feelings were having a field day" (Barrault/Griffin 175). Barrault claimed to have been subject to a guilt complex all his life (30-31), but at this time it may well have been exacerbated as he found himself in the enviable but uncomfortable position of spectator while many of his acquaintances faced punishment. As a reminder that feelings still ran high, Barrault might well have remarked that the recently-exonerated Sacha Guitry made his first postwar public appearance at the Salle Pleyel with a lecture entitled "Things Seen and Heard" (Choses vues et entendues), on 20 October 1947, a week after the premiere of Le Proces. When Guitry remarked that "During the occupation, one of the best ways to serve France was to return,to the theatre"—hardly different from Barrault's own defense—he was interrupted by a young man who cried "Oh! Sh*t [i.e., "m—"], no! Enough, you bastard!"44 This man, who had apparently been tortured by the Gestapo, was ejected by the audience amid shouts of "Bravo, Sacha!" (Bourget/PM 2). The support of the Parisian crowd meant little in the provinces, however: as late as 1948 Guitry's car was stopped by 44 "—Pendant Voccupation, une des meilleures fagons de servir la France etait de se retrouver au theatre. "Se leve alors un spectateur trouvant sans doute qu'il existait bien d'autres formes de Resistance. "—Oh! m .. Non! Assez, salaud!" 64 resistance people in Lyon and he and his entourage, expecting to be shot, were forced "to observe a moment of silence at the resistance memorial on Place Bellecour" (Lottman 260). It may be seen from such cases as Dullin's and Guitry's how legally insubstantial the charges brought before the Courts and the Commission could be. The attempts to purge show business thus quickly acquired a bad reputation. A backlash against the entertainment and journalism purges led to the circulation of anonymous pamphlets charging that "purgers, by getting rid of alleged collaborators, wished to make room for themselves" (257); another protest, in Sartre's journal Les Temps Modernes, defended the fdm director Clouzot (arbitrarily singled out after making a film for the German-run Continental studio) by claiming that it is "only in the universe of Kafka . . . that one finds such preposterous decisions" (260-263). If Barrault felt any qualms about his wartime career (as the omission of much of it from his memoirs might indicate), this must have been a tense period, and he describes it uncharacteristically tersely: "It was a sordid moment. Jealousy, informing, ambitious intrigue; it was dreadful and discouraging" (Barrault/Griffin 153). As we have seen, Gide felt much the same, refusing to return because "that atmosphere of hatred and lies would be intolerable to me" (Claude/PM 207). The arbitrary nature of the purge, and the different standards of rigour adhering in the various courts, had been apparent to many as early as January 1945; but not until early 1947, when sentences were becoming increasingly light anyway, was the purge attacked by critics who were not themselves in danger from it, like Jean Paulhan (Rousso 20-1; Lottman 242). By this time, genuine concerns about justice were mixed with a resurgence of sympathy for those who had unquestionably been guilty: public debates on amnesty sometimes devolved into cries from the audience of "Long live Petain! . . . Down with de Gaulle!" (Lottman 269-272). At about this time, in May 1947, Communist ministers were dismissed from the de Gaulle government, marking the end of a triparty 65 rule which acknowledged the Communist contribution to the resistance and the liberation (Rousso 27). As the cold war began, putting down the left wing was becoming more important than continuing to punish the right. Arguably, then, by 1947 the purge had become meaningless, though it carried on mechanically in metropolitan areas for another three or four years (Lottman 162-163). This unfortunate conclusion may have been inherent in the very nature of the purge, which apportioned guilt along political lines rather than moral ones. Despite the fact that more French citizens may have died in the purge than at the hands of the occupiers (Pryce- Jones 207), it is also claimed that "no one of any rank was seriously punished for his or her role in the roundup and deportation of Jews to Nazi camps" or for any other truly substantial collaborative activity (Lottman 290). It is in this charged atmosphere, and not in a general air of liberated relief, as Esslin implies, that Barrault and Gide completed Le Proces. If some critics have complained that the adaptation lacks a sense of mystery appropriate to Kafka, it may well be that for Barrault, Gide and many in their audience, there no longer seemed much mystery to be found in Kafka. As Armgard Gerbitz writes: "In retrospect, it seems as if this visual presentation was inevitable, in as much as Kafka had become, in the mentality of so many French, a part of the actual events of the time" (Gerbitz 4). Barrault's "Equivalences," Their Result, and Critical Objections The Barrault-Gide adaptation serves not only as a historical precedent for the adaptation of Kafka's novel; it is also, as we shall see, a test case for the ill-suitedness of purely textual criticism to understanding how a theatrical production works in its social context. Among the critics who have dealt with Le Proces since its production, many have treated it as a text above all, whose setting in motion on the stage, which they presumably did not witness, is incidental and does not 66 compensate for its deficiency as a text—for it must be deficient, because it is not the novel (a feeling which even some contemporary theatre reviewers found difficult to overcome). As Peter Lev writes, "Judging solely from the script, Barrault and Gide do not seem to have captured the multiple tones of Kafka's style. . . . Of course, the tone of the play may very well have been changed in performance" (Lev 181). This approach is often facilitated by rigidly demarcating the contributions of Gide (text) and Barrault (production) and speaking either of "Gide's adaptation" as if Barrault had been a beneficiary and not a participant in the labour, or of "Barrault's version" as if to protect Gide from the scandal of association. As we have seen, such demarcations are problematic in the case of Le Proces; nonetheless, such designations are reproduced in quotations from these critics without further comment. One of the adaptation's more positive later critics, who most consistently shows imagination in attempting to reconstruct the theatrical effect of Barrault's mise en scene, is Armgard Gerbitz. Gerbitz acknowledges the importance of Barrault's contribution to the dramatic text and points out that, a few years after Le Proces, Barrault demonstrated that he had put systematic thought into describing the means of altering the events of a novel to make them "more suitable to the new dramatic form into which the novel is adapted." In an article tellingly entitled "'Adaptation' is the Opposite of'Cutting,'" Barrault writes: What is the goal? The goal is to reconstruct for the spectator the emotion experienced by the reader, and to prompt him to the same flow of reflections and thoughts, by different means. The adapter will therefore look for what is essential in the novel and commit himself to expressing that and only that. He will have to cut long, important chapters, characters, etc., to choose an anecdote with dramatic possibilities which, in the novel, may be of secondary importance; above all, he will take care to express dramatically, and not necessarily by means of text, the thought of the author (thus, in Le Proces, certain effects of lighting or of sound, and the set itself, and the costumes, replaced at times Kafka's text); in short, constantly to render equivalences. 67 (Barrault/PM, "'Adaptation' est le contraire de 'Decoupage,'" Carrefour (1955), quoted in Gerbitz 17-18)45 Here Barrault has concisely anticipated many of Mirza's observations on adaptation. In 1976, Barrault restated his main point even more forcefully: "Finding the main theme of a novel's drama is precisely the overriding objective of all theatrical adaptation. From then on, the driving force is found and Vobjet-thedtre corresponds without betrayal to I'objet-roman" (Barrault/PM, "Le Roman adapte" 42-3).46 In order to demonstrate the effects Barrault's methods had on the dramatic text, let us here examine a brief outline of the alterations made to the narrative text to produce Le Proces (keyed back to Mirza's observations on adaptation, cited above, pp. 13-20): The bank manager Joseph K., as he finishes his morning toilet, sarcastically wishes "Peace on earth to men of good will" on his thirtieth birthday and hopes to give himself something out of the ordinary. It comes when instead of receiving his breakfast, he is arrested for an unknown crime by Franz and Wilhelm. Although it is no birthday joke, he is not detained. Events proceed generally as in the narrative text (elements A-Jon p. 36 above)—although compressed [Mirza e)], and placed 4 5 "De quoi s'agit-il? II s'agit de restituer au spectateur l'emotion qu'a eprouvee le lecteur et de l'inciter au meme courant de reflexion et de pensees, avec des moyens differents. L'adapteur ira done chercher l'essentiel de l'oeuvre romanesque et s'attachera a l'exprimer, lui seul. II lui arrivera de supprimer de longs et importants chapitres, des personnages, etc., de choisir une anecdote a possibilites dramatiques qui, dans le roman, n'occupait peut-etre qu'une place secondaire; surtout, il prendra soin d'exprimer dramatiquement et non pas forcement par du texte la pensee de l'auteur (ainsi, dans Le Proces, certains eclairages, certains bruitages, et le decor meme, et les costumes, remplacaient par moment le texte de Kafka), bref, de dormer a tous moments des equivalences." 4 6 "Trouver le fil conducteur du drame d'un roman est precisement l'objectif imperieux de toute adaptation theatrale. Des lors, le moteur est trouve et a l'objet-roman correspond, sans trahison, l'objet-theatre." 68 in production in a polyvalent space [Mirza a)]—with some major changes: 1) Joseph K. is notified of the date set for his hearing before his conversations with his landlady Mme. Grubach or with his neighbour Mile. Biirstner [Mirza d) and e)]; 2 ) the brief episode with the Whipper precedes K.'s going to his hearing, and is portrayed as a dream sequence [Mirza d) and e)\, 3) when K. goes to the empty hall for the hearing, he encounters the laundry woman and the bestial law student, but the hearing does not take place (see 7 below); 4) the character of Fraulein Montag (Fraulein Biirstner's friend in the novel) and all mention of K.'s mistress Elsa are omitted altogether (though Fraulein Biirstner is conflated with her in some respects), and Captain Lanz (the landlady's nephew) is mentioned but never named [Mirza b) and c)]; 5) the scenes with the merchant Block are integrated either into K.'s first visit with the lawyer Huld (in the play, the only visit) or into the final hearing [Mirza d)]; 6) in one sequence, a Great Judge appears, despite the fact that no judge of any rank appears in Kafka's novel [Mirza c)]; 7) the hearing occurs as the climax of the second and final act of the play, instead of early on as in the novel, with Mme. Grubach, Mile. Biirstner, Huld, Leni, Block, K.'s uncle, and the painter Titorelli in attendance [Mirza d)]; and 8) perhaps most noticeably, the entire parable "Before the Law," though referred to in passing, is omitted from the cathedral scene [Mirza d) and possibly f)\ These changes streamline the plot of the narrative text and give it a shape of "rising and falling action" more traditional to the stage: the hearing which occurs early in the novel as the "first 69 interrogation" now becomes the climax of the play, with the much-shortened interlude in the cathedral as anti-climax before K.'s execution. The action, which in the novel takes a year to unfold (until Josef K.'s next birthday), in the adaptation occupies only a few days (Block says K.'s trial "is still counted in days and hours"; Gide and Barrault/PM 10447), bringing the time-frame much nearer conventional "Aristotelian" expectations (Vallette 89). This is not to imply that Le Proces was a traditional production. Over and above these changes made by Barrault and Gide in the course of constructing the dramatic text, Barrault's staging resulted in a non-naturalistic performance text in which the kafkaesque atmosphere was expressed as "the maximum of the 'fantastic' with the minimum of the supernatural" (Starobinski/PM 22-23).48 John Savacool wrote in the New York Times that "Sound, decor, movement, all are orchestrated together to create the mood of a waking nightmare.... In sum, this is one of those plays which was born in the director's script" (Savacool 7). This had indeed been Barrault's ambition all along. In September 1942, long before beginning the adaptation, he had written to Gide, "I had thought to treat the subject on stage in a particular form, avoiding the monotony of successive tableaux and striving to translate the nightmare more physically" (Claude/PM 215).49 Among the elements contributing to this "nightmare" were the scenic transitions ("Scenery flying to the grid in full view of the audience seems to become alive as it casts weird moving shadows across the stage"; Savacool 7), choreographed movement, and scenes played simultaneously. This last was an idea Barrault was particularly fond of: "Dovetail several places, 4 7 "Non, mais tout de meme! le temps qu'a dure son proces, 9a se compte encore par jours et par heures —" 4 8 "Le maximum de 'fantastique' avec le minimum de surnaturel." 4 9 "J'avais pense pour traiter le sujet au theatre a une forme particuliere qui evitait la monotonie de tableaux successifs et qui tendait a traduire plus physiquement le cauchemar." 70 representing in them several different situations, and make these live simultaneously. They do not exactly answer each other, but correspondences do result that create a new situation: the real one" (Barrault/Griffin 174). The stage divisions, moving flats, and resulting playing spaces are well illustrated as technical plans in Leon Katz's English translation of Le Proces (though the translation itself is of uneven quality; plans are on pages 2;19;42;68;86 of Gide and Barrault/Katz). As Rebecca Vallette has remarked, the constantly shifting scenery and simultaneous scenes reproduce the sense of the omnipresent court which, in the novel, is achieved by K.'s finding traces of the court and its employees everywhere he goes in the city (Vallette 89). Barrault's intention is thus not to simplify the novel, but to provide a performance text equally, though differently, complex. The production also made much of Barrault's talents as a mime. As Barrault himself put it, "Just as Dali had invented the soft watch, in Le Proces the ground was sometimes soft, especially the steps. By means of mime, of course" (Barrault/Griffin 174). This mime included, for example, Barrault's use of imaginary telephones (" J.D.," 6) and invisible doors (Benmussa 87); focus was kept on the actors—above all, on Barrault as Joseph K., who never left the stage—by reducing the sets almost to abstraction (Marcel 8). The use of props and set elements made visible only through Barrault's mime reproduced in the performance text the narrative subjectivity of Kafka's novel. As Barrault wrote: "All the characters, all the objects are the projection of what the hero sees and imagines he sees: Joseph K. If K. disappears, there is nothing more" (Barrault/PM, "Cas de conscience" 53).50 This statement explains why, for example, the scene with the Whipper, which in Der Procefi is a real occurrence, is portrayed in the play as a dream (Gide and Barrault 40-42): if the action takes 5 0 "Tous les personnages, toutes les choses sont la projection de ce que voit et imagine voir le heros: Joseph K. Si K. disparait, il n'y a plus rien." 71 place inside the protagonist's head, it is irrelevant whether the events are real or imagined (for dramatic economy, the scene is also shortened and moved forward from its position as the fifth chapter in the novel; Kafka 103-111). Armgard Gerbitz points out that the novel's chapter "serves to underline K.'s growing subconscious preoccupation with the trial and to reveal how this preoccupation is beginning to interfere with his unreflective every-day existence"; she claims, however, that "[t]he dream-scene in the play cannot possibly serve the same objective," because it fails to show the novel's "subtle and imperceptible shift between the two levels of reality" (25). This failure supposedly occurs because "[Gide] completely dropped the suggestive imagery of the 'Rumpelkammer,' the store-room into which the door opens (or could it not be interpreted as K.'s mind into which he enters?) and for it substituted the familiar image of the dream-world" (25- 26). Gerbitz's parenthetical interpretation of the store-room, however, fits seamlessly with Barrault's intentions to portray the events as K.'s own perceptions; while at the same time her objection overlooks the fact that the nightmarish quality of the entire production must have rendered the dividing line between the "reality" of other events and the "dream" of the Whipper episode ambiguous. Exactly this sort of ambiguity was important to Barrault, who cited Kafka's "liv[ing] in ambiguity" as "[o]ne more reason, not only for admiring him, but for loving him" (Barrault/Griffin 175). Barrault's reading of Le Proces as an externalization of K.'s subconscious also explains the brief appearance, in a multi-focus scene, of the Grand Judge (Gide and Barrault 74-82), which demonstrates for the audience Joseph K.'s idea of a Grand Judge, and shows that K.'s preoccupation with his trial has begun to interfere with his work, rather than portraying the Judge as a character in his own right (Vallette 92; Gerbitz 40). Barrault himself claimed in 1957 that this interpretation was communicated very effectively in production, and that "the audience understood very well that all 72 the characters were personal projections of the hero" (Barrault/PM, "Cas de conscience" 56).51 Portraying Le Proces in this manner, however, still does not perfectly reproduce the novel's subjective narrativity. The narrative text is largely devoted to recounting Josef K.'s inner monologue; rather than take up most of the dramatic text with a literal transposition of this monologue, external motivations (whether real or imagined) must be provided as a substitute. In other words, because we cannot constantly be made party to K.'s thought processes onstage, his motivation must often be externalized for us. Though Ira Kuhn claims that Barrault wilfully distorted Kafka, because in the novel "Josef K. is not coerced, or tricked or forced into anything as is, at times, his counterpart in Gide's dramatization" (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 234), many events in the novel are set up with lengthy exposition which cannot easily be directly transposed to the stage. One example of this disparity between novel and play is the "carpenter Lanz" episode, which has annoyed several critics. In the novel, Josef K. goes to the address where his first interrogation is set, but is afraid to ask the exact whereabouts of the court itself. Instead, he asks if a carpenter named Lanz lives in the building, choosing the name "Lanz" only because that is the name of his landlady's nephew, an army captain who lives in the same boarding house. Thanks to his subterfuge, K. is then led through the building by the residents until he is recognized as one of the accused by the laundress, who ushers him into the court (Kafka 49-51). In the play, however, Joseph K. is explicitly told to ask for "the carpenter Lanz" in the phone call that announces the interrogation to him (though the interrogation does not, in fact, take place when K. first goes to the building; Gide and Barrault 24-26). Reinhard Kuhn suggests that Gide 5 1 "Quand nous avons monte Le Proces, le public a fort bien compris que tous ces personnages etaient des projections personnelles du heros." 73 made this change because he lacked a "sense of the absurd," or because he was "deceived by certain interpretations of Kafka more or less in fashion at the time, which insisted on the non-psychological character of Kafka's novels" (R. Kuhn/PM 172)52; while Ira Kuhn argues, "The carpenter Lanz episode is an example of Gide's subconscious need to rationalize" (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 229). "Feeding" Joseph K. the phrase as a password, however, saves valuable time. K. would otherwise have to speak aloud the thought process that leads his counterpart in the novel to invent the carpenter (in fact, this is impossible in the play because the name of Captain Lanz, the idea's inspiration, has been cut altogether). Also, though Ira Kuhn complains that this strategy "eliminat[es] the mysterious and nightmarish quality of K.'s search for the Court" (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 230), it also eliminates the time-consuming search through four storeys of the apartment block (Kafka 49-51). Here again, a critic overlooks the atmosphere of mystery and nightmare repeatedly mentioned by contemporary reviewers of the performance text, in order to maintain that Barrault and Gide deprived the adaptation of these qualities. Perhaps, as Rebecca M. Vallette suggests, it is in compensation for removing this long search that Barrault and Gide have Joseph K. ask both the lawyer Huld and the painter Titorelli at later stages who "the carpenter Lanz" is (Vallette 92). Kuhn claims that it is ridiculous of K. to ask this question because "he knows that carpenter Lanz is just a password" (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 230); in fact, however, K. does not necessarily know that there is no such person. Only the last time K. asks does Titorelli explicitly tell him that "The carpenter Lanz does not exist. It's a password"—a password whose power, even as Titorelli replies, causes the artist's loft to open into the spacious 5 2 "II se peut que Gide ait ete ici trompe par certaines interpretations de Kafka qui etaient plus ou moins a la mode, et qui insistaient sur le caractere non-psychologique des romans kafkaiens." 74 courtroom (Gide and Barrault/PM 99).53 Ira Kuhn, by quoting Huld's and Titorelli's responses in reverse order, makes Barrault's Joseph K. look more stupid than he is (230). Neither the Whipper episode nor the carpenter Lanz episode, however, undergoes as radical a change as K.'s hearing (the novel's second chapter), which is transposed to the end of the play, where it immediately precedes the cathedral scene, and thus appears in a very different context, becoming the "Trial" of the title and forming a complex which merges into the cathedral scene and hence into the final execution. Kurt Klinger admires the way in which "K.'s rebellion, the affront to the court, and the adaptation's key sentence—that the individual case 'is the symbol of an action taken against many. It is for these that I stand here, not for myself—are followed immediately by the execution" (Klinger/PM 62).54 Ira Kuhn, however, does not see this manipulation so kindly. Kuhn is extremely disturbed by her perception that "[wjithout concern for the implications that a reunion of all major characters at K.'s hearing would have for the interpretation of the work, Mile Biirstner, Mme Grubach, lawyer Huld, Leni, Block, the director of the bank, K.'s uncle and Titorelli are brought together for a theatrical finale" (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 239). This objection is countered, however, by Armgard Gerbitz's observation that this gathering, while it does serve purely formal dramatic conventions, is by no means "without concern for the implications," which are entirely in keeping with Barrault and Gide's project: "Such an assembly, only suggested in the novel, implies that all of the apparently helpful and friendly people . . . whom K. has met 5 3 "Le menusier Lanz n'existe pas. C'est un mot de passe." 5 4 "Dem Aufbegehren Josef K.s, der Beleidigung des Gerichts und dem Schlusselsatz der Bearbeitung, der einzelne Fall sei 'das Zeichen eines Verfahrens, wie es gegen viele geiibt wird. Fur diese stehe ich hier ein, nicht fur mich', folgt die Exekution auf dem Fufie." The "key sentence," as it stands in the original, is: "Aussi bien n'est-ce pas tant pour moi, que pour ceux-la, pour tous les innocents, accuses comme moi, que je parle" (Gide and Barrault 107). 75 individually during the period of his trial, are in reality themselves imprisoned within the huge organization of the Law that now confronts K." (Gerbitz 45). Gerbitz and Kuhn, by the way, consistently contradict each other not only in their interpretation of this scene of Le Proces, but of the original novel as well. Kuhn takes exception to the characterization of K. in this scene, maintaining that shifting of the hearing to the end of the play proves that "Gide and Barrault did not see K. as someone who changes as his trial progresses," as Kuhn claims K. does, because only "someone who does not detect a change in K. from rejection to acceptance of the Law, could have K. act so brashly and indignantly at such an advanced point of his trial." Kuhn also blames this perceived deficiency of interpretation entirely on Barrault (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 239). Gerbitz, by concentrating on Barrault's and Gide's combining of K.'s hearing with the Tradesman Block scenes of the novel, points out that K.'s development is thereby contrasted with Block's, for "by making the interrogation K.'s and not Block's, who has waited patiently for five years and employed all possible means of support, Gide points out that K. has chosen to do the correct thing, because the only way that one can enter the door into the highest Law is alone" (Gerbitz 45). In Gerbitz's interpretation, K.'s "develop[ment] into an individual" is thrown into sharp relief by "the caricaturized, dehumanized slave Block" (45) and by the "Chorus of the Defendants" which Barrault and Gide have added in an earlier scene (35-36). Gerbitz thus maintains, in sharp contrast to Kuhn, that "[t]he only character who undergoes a transformation in the play (unlike in the novel where it is never achieved) is K. himself (84), and further points out that Barrault and Gide's individualization of K. directly contradict's Heinz Politzer's interpretation of K. as an "Everyman" figure, which may explain in part Politzer's dislike of the play (45). Clearly, then, while Barrault's and Gide's transposition of this scene may be a radical alteration, it is demonstrably not arbitrary and 76 can easily be attributed to important thematic demands. So likewise can the changes made in the cathedral scene, which in Le Proces follows the hearing immediately. As mentioned, the famous parable "Before the Law," which is recounted and interpreted by the priest in the novel (Kafka 255-264), is cut from the dramatic text (much as the "Grand Inquisitor" episode, as we have seen, was cut from Copeau and Croue's version of The Brothers Karamazov), no doubt because narrating it would be undramatic (Vallette 91), and enacting it would slow the pace of a play that is now proceeding to its conclusion. A passing reference is nonetheless made to the parable when the priest says, "As a sentinel, I am set to guard a door, preventing entry to it. Yet it's for you I've been waiting, Joseph K., and this door, I tell you, is made for you alone" (Gide and Barrault/PM 114).55 This reference does not suffice for Ira Kuhn, who complains that "[o]nly someone familiar with the novel is able to tell that the following paragraph is at the same time a reference to and an interpretation of the parable" (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 232-233). This objection is insubstantial, however: the reference substitutes for the parable, and no spectator unfamiliar with the novel is likely to miss the excised section. Kuhn apparently fears that spectators of the play are being cheated of the full symbolic value of the novel; this fear can perhaps be allayed with a reference to Armgard Gerbitz's interpretation of Barrault's and Gide's hearing scene, in which, at the moment Joseph K. dismisses his lawyer (which K. does in privacy in the novel), the scene changes to represent the court itself: "The scene grows larger. The arches go up and reveal a painted curtain representing a symphony of red robes. Rows of pillars as in 17th century paintings, drawing the eye across the vista toward a stretch of blue sky" (Gide and Barrault/Katz 123). 5 5 "Sentinelle, on me confie la garde d'une porte afin d'en interdire l'entree. Pourtant c'est toi que j'attendais, Joseph K..., et cette entree, je te le dis, n'est faite que pour toi." 77 As Gerbitz remarks, this scene is very different from Kafka's dark, stuffy and crowded courtroom, but can be explained thematically as another form of interpretation of the parable "Before the Law": Could the elaborate decor not be understood as a more dramatic representation of the moment in the parable . . ., in which the waiting man, already old and weak . . . , discovers ["a radiance that streams inextinguishably from the door of the Law" (Kafka/Muir and Muir 269)]? . . . It is possible that in this climatic [sic] scene Gide indirectly establishes the relationship existing between the destiny of the man from the country and that of K. and thereby makes the play, like the novel, a parable. (Gerbitz 43) In Gerbitz's ingenious interpretation, quite in keeping with Barrault's idea of "equivalences," the opening up of the scene from Titorelli's cramped loft to the spacious courtroom symbolizes the possibility of freedom which the trial itself means for K., while the darkening and narrowing of the stage space which changes the courtroom to the cathedral represents K.'s failure to enter into the "radiance" implied onstage by the visible blue sky (43-44). The priest's brief reference to the "door" he guards has thus been prefigured in a striking and theatrical manner by the set, the lighting and the choreography of the actors. As effective a means of translating the parable to the stage as this must have been, it leaves the cathedral scene with little to do dramaturgically, and leaves the priest without much to say. For this reason, the most apparent change in the play (except for scenic transposition) occurs in the cathedral: in the novel the priest, whom Josef K. recognizes as the prison chaplain, nonetheless makes no reference to conventional Christian religion (he speaks not of the Bible, but only of the law [das Gesetz]; Gerbitz 48; I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 233), but Joseph K. in Le Proces comes upon the priest delivering a sermon to the empty cathedral, based upon the lamentations of Jeremiah (Lamentations 3:7 and 3:31). The use of biblical quotation in this scene is arguably the strongest sign in the play of Gide's 78 hand, for Gide knew the Bible extremely well and used quotations from it throughout his works (Tournier 51); certainly the use of such references for thematic purposes is more a trait of Gide than of either Barrault or Kafka. Gerbitz devotes several pages (48-58) to Gide's Calvinist background and to his personal view of spirituality, contrasting it with Kafka's religious rootlessness, in order to explain that Gide is "concerned with adding precision to the suggested ambiguity (in the novel) of the chaplain's character and duty" (55) and that the new development of the scene reflects Gide's more positive humanist view of human responsibility than Kafka's (57-58). However, I propose a simpler interpretation, in which Gide's undeniable biblical knowledge and spiritual concerns are subordinated to Barrault's thematic concerns in historical context. As Gerbitz points out, Jeremiah, from whose lamentations the priest's sermon is taken in the play, was "one of the four great Hebrew prophets who was deeply concerned for the Israelites . . . whom he could not persuade to do penitence and contrition in order to prevent their total ruin" (Gerbitz 48-49). Aptly enough for the play, Jeremiah was also arrested, imprisoned and delivered several times during his career as a prophet, which coincided with the destruction of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah by Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon. The third chapter of his Lamentations complains of his captivity and torment at the hands of the enemy, and proclaims his faith in God (the lines quoted inLe Proces are here italicized): "He [mine enemy] hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out. . . . It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. . . . For the Lord will not cast off for ever." There is little mention in this chapter of the Hebrews' transgressions, but rather exhortations to hope of liberation and vengeance: "Render unto them a recompense, O Lord, according to the work of their hands" (Lam. 3:64). I suggest that in the context of 1947, this passage is tied not to abstract Gidean metaphysics, but to recent historical events. Barrault believed that "the art of the theatre is essentially an art of 79 topicality" (Barrault/PM, Reflexions sur le theatre 139, quoted in Gerbitz 5)56, and he had said that he had chosen to interpret Le Proces according to its relevance to "the Jewish question," meaning the recent deportation and destruction of the Jews under the occupation ("J.D.," 6). This interpretation was rendered easier by the recent emphasis which existentialists like Sartre had laid upon the importance of Kafka's Jewishness, based on Max Brod's original contention that Kafka was first and foremost a religious thinker, if not conventionally Jewish. Further, the general conflation of the author Kafka with his protagonists enabled Joseph K. to be seen as a Jew as well (although Kafka never uses the word in the novel, and indeed the fragment "Journey to His Mother," to which Gide and Barrault and their contemporaries had no access, explicitly places K. in a Christian family; Kafka 277-278): at least one reviewer ("J.D.") refers to Joseph K. as "Kafka," and Alexandre Vialatte writes that "every evening, at the Theatre Marigny, the Parisians come to see Kafka . . . punish himself for a crime whose name he does not know" (Vialatte/PM l).5 7 Traces of this interpretation are to be found throughout the play, from the very beginning, when Joseph K. ironically wishes "Peace on earth to men of good will," immediately before remarking "Nom du chienl Why, it's my birthday today!"58 (Gide and Barrault/PM 10). Armgard Gerbitz remarks on the biblical quotation, and devotes five pages to demonstrating that Barrault and Gide have chosen to begin the play with a complicated philosophical game in which "these first few words should be understood in a Gidian manner, rather than in their traditional sense, for they are 5 6 " . . . Tart du theatre est essentiellement un art d'Actualite.... Parce que l'art du theatre traite essentiellement du Present et du Simultane." 5 7 "Chaque soir, au Theatre Marigny, les Parisiens viennent voir Kafka . . . se punir d'une faute dont il ignore le nom." 5 8 "Paix sur la terre aux hommes de bonne volonte.... A-men! . . . Nom du chien! Mais c'est mon anniversaire, aujourd'hui!" 80 but an example of the manner in which Andre Gide frequently resorted to biblical references, especially from the New Testament, when trying to clarify a personal moral or ethical conviction" (Gerbitz 18). For Gerbitz, however, the play fails to follow this "thematic thread," because Gide "did not manage to integrate it successfully into the rest of the play" until it appears again in the final scene (21). Yet Gerbitz fails to associate the biblical quotation (Luke 2:14), inextricably associated with the birth of Christ, with Joseph K.'s birthday. It seems unlikely that Barrault, an experienced dramaturge, would begin a play with the complicated puzzle suggested by Gerbitz. If K. speaks the opening words ironically, we might more simply assume that he is not a Christian; and yet by tying K.'s own birthday to Christ's, Barrault and Gide certainly seem to imply that he is at least a Christlike figure. This would then tie in with his assertion in the courtroom that he represents "all those innocent accused" (Gide and Barrault/PM 107; this statement also occurs in the novel but seems less important because the courtroom scene takes place so early [Kafka 57]). The possibility of K.'s Jewishness is accentuated by the appearance of Block in this scene, one of those very accused. K. thus represents, among others, Block; and pictures from the production show Block portrayed as an older man, with a large nose, an Asiatic- style goatee, and a black skull-cap—in other words, as a Shylock-figure, or the stereotypical Jew of anti Semitic propaganda (Gide and Barrault/Katz 80). Such an interpretation not only explains the choice of text for the priest's sermon, but also gives a double meaning to K.'s question to the priest—"Are you, too, prejudiced against me?"—and to the reply: "I have no prejudice against you" (Gide and Barrault/PM 1 1359; these words also occur in the novel: Kafka 253). It may also explain why the only words of comfort the priest has for "Je n'ai pas de prevention contre toi." 81 Joseph K. are "You must tell yourself: I am hunted; I am chosen" (Gide and Barrault/PM 114).60 Thus the "hunted" quality which had struck Gide so forcibly in reading the novel years before now numbers Joseph K. among the "chosen," and perhaps among God's chosen people. Significantly, Gide, who knew the Bible so well, changed (or allowed Barrault to change) the quotation from Jeremiah, so that instead of "He has hedged me about with walls," the priest says "You [vous] have hedged me about with walls" (111)61, perhaps directed to God, but perhaps implicating the congregation—the audience of the performance text. Even the final execution scene serves this reading, for the odd guards who lead K. away to death are given their orders by a police inspector who has no counterpart in the novel (Gide and Barrault 116). Ira Kuhn maintains that here again Gide has deprived Kafka of his mystery, and that the appearance of ordinary police, "probably inspired by the experiences of the Second World War, is an interpretation on the part of Gide that is not only uncalled for, but also detrimental to the grotesque atmosphere Kafka has so well evoked in the novel's last chapter" (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 231). This reference is certainly called for by Barrault's desire to be topical, however, and the vivid public memory that the occupiers had in fact delegated the regular French police to round up Jews for deportation must surely have provided all the "grotesque atmosphere" that could be hoped for. I have laid great emphasis on this narrow interpretation of Le Proces because it corresponds to aims attributed to Barrault ("J. D." 6). It is important to note, however, that Barrault apparently did not place so much weight on this interpretation in the performance text that a more general 6 0 "Tu dois te dire: je suis traque; je suis elu." 6 1 '"Vous m'avez entoure d'un mur afin que je ne sorte pas!'" 82 reference to the events of the occupation was impossible. In the contemporary climate, Barrault may have been apprehensive about alienating some of his audience. The nationalist right wing was gaining in influence in France, and already since early 1947, at the public meetings which ostensibly discussed amnesty for collaborators, the cries of "Long live Petain!" and "Down with DeGaulle!" were mixed with shouts of "Death to the Jews!" (Lottman 272). At least one review of Le Proces seems to bear signs of this resurgent nationalism: Jean-Jacques Gautier, in Le Figaro, wrote, "If tomorrow our theatre were to declare itself for a larger number of such plays, which obviously stem from a central European aesthetic, then it seems to me the houses would quickly empty" (Gautier/PM 47).62 Gautier's criticism seems rooted in nationalistic rather than aesthetic grounds; it had not been long previously that a reviewer might well have written "Jewish" instead of "central European." Although Gautier himself (whom Paul Claudel called cepetitpaltoquet, or "that little boor"; Claudel and Barrault/PM 348) might not have meant his remarks to be antisemitic (they might well be anti- German), there were no doubt those who might willingly have read it as such if the "Jewish" element of Le Proces were emphasized strongly enough. Given Barrault's temperament, he may have wanted to steer clear of possible confrontation with reactionary elements in the public, and so chose to emphasize the more general aspects of the production. The production's reference to the occupation was nonetheless made fully evident in the programme for Le Proces, which bore "the twenty-four identity cards of the actors, stamped on one corner, and with two initials and a number: J.-L. B..., known as 'K...', 400,205" (Kemp/PM 6).63 No 6 2 " Wenn aber unser Theater sich morgen zu einer groBeren Anzahl solcher Stttcke bekennen wtirde, die offensichtlich einer zentraleuropaischen Asthetik entspringen, dann wurden sich die Sale schnell leeren, so scheint mir." (From the German translation presented in Prisma 17, 1948) 6 3 "Sur le programme, spirituellement, on a aligne les vingt-quatre cartes d'identite des artistes, marquees d'un quart de timbre, de deux initiales et d'un numero: J.-L. B . . ., dit 'K. . .', 83 wonder, then, that Andre Frank wrote in Le Populaire that no one could attend this production without finding there "the dramatic, grandiose, powerful images of the sufferings of our time" (Frank/PM n.p.)64, while "J. D.," in Le Figaro litteraire, remarked that "Le Proces is a permanent spectacle. Our own" (" J. D."/PM 6).65 These readings had strong encouragement: to place the stamp of approval on this most general interpretation of the production, Andre Gide himself wrote in the programme, "This trial is your trial" ("J. D.'VPM 6).66 It is, of course, important both for this more general reading of Le Proces and for the more specific "Jewish-oriented" reading that Gide's and Barrault's Joseph K. really be an innocent victim, which explains, for example, Max Brod's terse dismissal of the adaptation: in Brod's opinion, the failure lay in part in portraying K. as innocent (Brod's interpretation of the novel is that K. is guilty of "lovelessness"; Brod 157; 253-256). For any other critic who interprets K. as bearing some real guilt of whatever kind, the Gide-Barrault reading is clearly inadequate or, worse, misleading. There is one exception to this statement: namely, those critics who conflated K.'s guilt with Kafka's Jewishness. Brod was well aware that such interpretations existed, and ascribed them above all to the French (Brod 267). Indeed, since the 'thirties both Catholic commentators like Daniel-Rops and Jean Carrive and Protestants like Denis de Rougemont had maintained that in Kafka's universe, "divine Grace" was either impossible or inaccessible because "Kafka's inability to make the leap into the unknown, to have faith in Jesus Christ, and to let Him be the way to salvation, makes him 400,205 . . . " 6 4 " Je ne crois pas que l'on puisse sentir l'importance profonde et decisive du Proces que la Compagnie de Madeleine Renaud et de Jean-Louis Barrault, sans y trouver aussi des images dramatiques, grandioses, puissantes des souffrances de notre temps." 65 "Le Proces, c'est un spectacle permanent. Le notre." 6 6 "Ce proces est ton proces." 84 inevitably prisoner of the anguish that he feels in face [sic] of our human condition" (I. Kuhn, "Kafka and the Theatre of the Absurd", 14-16). Paul Claudel, whose devout Catholicism often expressed itself as chauvinism, endorsed Le Proces even while proclaiming this interpretation: "There remains God to whom our K. makes his appeal, and Kafka, as a Jew, wins no response but the confirmation of his essential culpability in respect to the Creator, to whom he is indebted. Upon the threshold of Christianity he falls, blind, uncomprehending. There is nothing more but to end it. No matter how. With a kitchen knife" (Claudel, "Le Proces de Kafka'VPM l).6 7 Thus Claudel praised Barrault's production and acknowledged its applicability to la question juive even while he subverted what may have been Barrault's (and what almost certainly would have been Gide's) intentions in dealing with that question, in the form of destruction of the innocent; for Claudel and many others who would never have thought themselves antisemitic, innocence and Jewishness were at the deepest level contradictory terms. To return, however, to the final episode of Le Proces: even here, the narrower interpretation of the play according to the Jewish question is not necessary to provide a satisfying reading. Although Barrault and Gide's execution scene has been criticized as failing to convey the spirit of Kafka's conclusion—not only because of the intervention of mundane police officials, but because the inner monologue which signals K.'s resignation to his fate has been cut—it has nonetheless not been arbitrarily altered, but has been changed into a theatrical recapitulation of the greater action of the play, or as Armgard Gerbitz calls it: "a method of illumination—the whole fantastic pantomime being nothing but a short re-enactment of K.'s year-long process of questioning and resisting" (59- 6 7 "II reste Dieu vers qui notre K. eleve son appel, et Kafka, qui est juif, ne recueille pour reponse que la confirmation de sa culpabilite radicale a l'egard du Createur, envers qui il est sous le coup d'une dette. Sur le seuil du christianisme, il tombe, aveugle, sans comprendre. II n'y a plus qu'a s'en debarrasser. N'importe comment. Avec un couteau de cuisine." 85 60). This scene thus fits well with the repetitive structure of Kafka's narrative text, particularly, for example, as interpreted by Patrick Brantlinger (35-36). There is some evidence, however, that this final scene was altered in the course of production, or after the original production. Reinhard Kuhn, for instance, mentions that the novel's comic exchange in which the two executioners politely pass the fatal knife back and forth, unsure which of them should strike K. with it (Kafka 271), does not appear in the play, and speculates that the omission is due to Gide's "insensitivity to this sort of black humour" (R. Kuhn/PM 173).68 The stage directions, however, in the version of Le Proces published as part of Le Theatre complet de Andre Gide (which reproduces the text of the original 1947 publication, with "some modifications . . . in the stage directions by Jean-Louis Barrault" [Gide and Barrault 125]) clearly describe exactly this business. At the same time, this edition does not contain K.'s final words from the novel, "Like a dog!" (Kafka 272); while Leon Katz's English translation, which also claims to be based on the version published in 1947, includes them (Gide and Barrault/Katz 140). Contemporary reviews do not make it clear whether these words were spoken in the production or not. These important differences raise the possibility of other changes between editions of the playscript, which may reflect either changes in Barrault's staging, or the fact that the original publication (which must have been simultaneous with or soon after the production) was very possibly already in the proof stages before the rehearsal process had ended. Without access to other editions for comparison, I forego speculating about these changes, although a study of them might possibly prove instructive regarding Barrault's motivations and working methods. At the centre of the production, of course, was its prime mover, Barrault himself, and his "Etait-il insensible a cette sorte d'humour noir?" 86 interpretation of Joseph K. Heinz Politzer's dismissal of Barrault's K. as a "charming boulevardier" no doubt owes much to the linguistic alterations in the adaptation from narrative text to dramatic text: as Vallette points out, "whereas in the novel K speaks a fairly literary and highly conservative German, interspersed with philosophic reflections, in the play K is much more excitable and uses everyday slang" (Vallette 88); or, as Ira Kuhn puts it, "The introduction of witticism and social ease in the portrayal of Josef K. is a disturbing change" (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 239). These changes are undoubtedly not arbitrary, however. Not only is Kafka's literary and stylized German far from being easily spoken aloud, but the extraordinary prolixity of his protagonist (who certainly sees himself as being charming and persuasive) requires massive cutting to prevent the dramatic text from being no more than a long series of untheatrical speeches. In the play, Gide's own tendency to write in a mannered and consciously "literary" style has been subsumed not only by a desire to "give precedence to Kafka" ("H.K.7PM 6)69, but also by Barrault's recognition that the novel "swims in a kind of verbal fog, where the most simple words take on an unusual, as if incantatory, aspect"; and that since "nothing could be less visual" than this, the theatre must find other means to produce the same effects (" Avant-premiere: Le Proces de Kafka au Theatre Marigny'VPM 2).70 In fact, a comparison of surviving drafts shows a clear progression, as Gide pared away ever more verbiage to achieve a taut framework for Barrault's visual ideas (Claude 218- 219). This alleged change in K. to a self-assured boulevardier is in any case not remarked on by 6 9 " . . . m'effacant le plus possible pour ceder la place a Kafka . . . " 7 0 " . . . 'Le Proces' baigne dans une sorte de brouillard verbal, ou les mots les plus simples prennent un aspect insolite et comme incantatoire. Rien n'est precis encore moins visuel.... C'est cela justement qui m'a seduit: produire des effets analogue par des moyens differents." 87 the contemporary reviewers; Claudel above all saw Barrault's K. rather as "a crazed rat, a poor maddened insect"71 with overtones of Kafka's Gregor Samsa (Claudel, "Le Proces de Kafka"/PM 1; it should be noted, however, that Claudel wrote privately to Barrault, "What a shame that my cursed deafness kept me from following everything" [Claudel and Barrault/PM 186]72). Even the later critic Rebecca Vallette, reading the script differently from Ira Kuhn, sees Joseph K. rather as "a typical self-oriented bachelor, a middle-class bank employee of mediocre intelligence and sensitivity" and therefore no great charmer (93). Furthermore, the dreamlike and mechanical acting style which Barrault had developed as his own must have made it difficult to perceive his Joseph K. as merely suave, even as it disturbed some who saw Josef K. and his creator as equivalent. Maja Goth, for example, complained that "the Marigny's Josef K. bears more of J.-L. Barrault's traits than the Czech author's" (Goth/PM 248)73; though photographs of the production show that some attempt was made to resemble Kafka, at least externally. Barrault slicked down and darkened his curly hair, parting it in the middle as Kafka had most of his life. From a distance, Barrault in makeup does look slightly like Kafka (see, for example, photos in Gide and Barrault/Katz 21;64;81;118). To confuse the issue further, Barrault's mechanical style of acting in Le Proces was likened by several reviewers, as for example Gabriel Marcel and Jean Roy, to the screen persona of Charlie Chaplin (Marcel 8; J. Roy 1535), and Maja Goth also refers to Barrault's K. as "this swift Chariot" (Ce Chariot veloce; Goth/PM 248). Barrault and Gide, in their stage directions, explicitly call for 7 1 ". . . un rat afolle, un pauvre insecte affole qui se cogne desesperement a tous les murs." 7 2 "Quel dommage que ma maudite surdite ne m'ait pas permis de tout suivre . . ." 7 3 "Or le Josef K. de Marigny porte plus les traits de J.-L. Barrault que ceux de l'auteur tcheque." 88 K. to explain his arrest to Mile. Biirstner by means of "a burlesque pantomime a la Charlie Chaplin" (Gide and Barrault/Katz 35), and this is perhaps fitting, since Brod had already drawn attention to Chaplinesque elements in Kafka's sense of humour (Brod 80). At the same time, the comic aspect inherent in this comparison troubled some reviewers, including Jean Roy, and (according to Ira Kuhn) Gide himself (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 237). Barrault had said in an interview before the opening, "I think I shall have succeeded in not betraying Kafka if the audience laughs" (Barrault/PM, quoted in I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 227)74, and this statement, whether known to Gide or not, prompts Kuhn to observe that the audience "did indeed laugh and the play was a great success, but only for those who were not at all or only superficially familiar with Kafka's work" (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 227). Leaving aside for the moment the possibility that Gide may have objected to a comic interpretation, it should be observed that on the one hand Kafka's narrative text indeed has its humourous moments, as Maja Goth remarks ("There is no lack of comic characters in Kafka either. . . . Life becomes a tragicomedy" (Goth/PM 32-33)75; and that Brod remembered Kafka reading the first chapter aloud to his circle of friends, provoking such laughter that the author himself could not read for laughing (Brod 156). Indeed, by 1966, reviewer Christoph Trilse could take Czech director Jan Grossman to task for not making his adaptation of Der Procefi funny enough: "Kafka on the stage? Yes, but as Kafka-comedy" (Trilse/PM 32).76 On the other hand, Barrault himself was aware that the humour of Le Proces had to serve the 7 4 " Je crois que j'aurais reussi a ne pas trahir Kafka si le public rit." 7 5 "II ne manque pas non plus chez Kafka de personnages comiques.... La vie devient une tragi-comedie." 7 6 "Kafka auf der Buhne? Ja, aber als Kafka-Komodie." 89 greater purpose of creating the nightmare: "everything must remain within the limits of humour and anguish, without spilling over into any romantic or fantastic deformation of the Doctor Caligari kind. If one manages to keep within the true, the real, the valid, then the slightest shock of surprise becomes terrifying" (Barrault/Griffin 175). As Gerbitz further points out in respect to the scene in the stuffy corridors of the court, where K. has great difficulty finding an exit into the fresh air (described in detail in Benmussa 96-106): "It is the familiar technique of the circus-clown who, in an attempt to reach the goal of his desire, repeatedly falls on his face. . . . However, due to the seriousness of his situation these attempts already approach the tragic-comic" (Gerbitz 87). K. incidentally falls three times, again Christ-like, in the course of this scene. Barrault apparently succeeded to some extent in making the humour serve the uncanny atmosphere of the play, for most of the reviewers acknowledged that the play was not merely amusing but also touching, disturbing, terrifying and even at times, as Robert Kemp found, erotic (6); moreover, the identification of the play's events as tied to the occupation and (thanks to the conflation of Kafka with K.) to Jewish themes in that context must have given Le Proces a macabre relevance which kept it from being perceived as mere comedy despite its absurdity. Kuhn, however, steadfastly maintains that the adaptation, while not intended as such, was a thoroughly misleading betrayal of Kafka's Procefi. She writes, "Almost all of the reviews of the play were enthusiastic, and yet the more discerning critic, even while praising the production and thanking Gide and Barrault for having put Kafka on the stage, could not refrain from expressing his fears that the real atmosphere of Der Prozess had been lost" (I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 227). In Kuhn's estimation, of course, those critics who express such fears are self-selected as "more discerning." Among these were Francis Ambriere of Opera, who wrote, "However 90 scrupulous Messrs. Gide and Barrault have been in respecting Kafka's intentions, their play lacks the better part of the novel: the fever, the anguish, the shiver of mystery," and "I left Le Proces . . . filled with so embarrassing an admiration for M. Barrault and the perfection of his spectacle, that Kafka and his message found themselves pushed to the background" (Ambriere/PM, in I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 239).77 Claude Roy, in the communist journal Action, could not even praise the production: "One has such difficulty finding Kafka in this spectacle, which is not only mendacious in itself, but in respect to the work that it adapts" (C. Roy/PM 11).78 The less discerning critics included "J.D." in Le Figaro litter aire ("It is quite true that Barrault's mise en scene has recreated the flesh of the work and its anguish"; "J.D.7PM 6)79, John Savacool in the New York Times (who, despite a generally unfavourable review, wrote: "M. Gide has been extraordinarily faithful to the novelist's text"; Savacool 7), and Gustave Joly in L'Aurore ("Messrs. Andre Gide and Jean-Louis Barrault show an utter loyalty to Kafka and their adaptation scrupulously respects the spirit and the letter of the novel"; Joly/PM 2).80 Kuhn does not mention either Savacool or Joly, and uses a quotation from "J.D." ("Reading the text, however, one has the feeling that something essential is lacking: the gripping atmosphere of the novel"; "J.D.7PM 6)81 7 7 ". . . je suis sorti de Proces ... tout plein d'une admiration si genante pour M. Barrault et la perfection de son spectacle que Kafka et son message s'en trouvaient repousses a l'arriere-plan." 7 8 "C'est qu'on retrouve assez malaisement Kafka dans ce spectacle, qui n'est pas seulement decevant en lui meme, mais par rapport a l'oeuvre qu'il adapte." 7 9 "II est bien vrai que la mise en scene de Barrault recree la chair de l'oeuvre et son angoisse." 8 0 "MM. Andre Gide et Jean-Louis Barrault temoignent [sic] envers Kafka d'une entiere loyaute et leur adaptation respecte scrupuleusement l'esprit et la lettre du roman . . ." 8 1 "A lire ce texte, cependant, on a le sentiment qu'il lui manque quelque chose d'essentiel: le climat saisissant du roman." 91 to support her own position, without mentioning that the same critic goes on to describe the production itself as restoring this quality. It is also noteworthy that some of the negative criticisms seemed to miss the point not just of the adaptation, but of Kafka altogether. Jean-Jacques Gautier, for example, complained that such plays were no use to theatregoers "who have had no 'philosophical schooling'" (Gautier/PM 47).82 John Savacool claimed that "Kafka makes lots of sense, like non-Euclidean geometry, if you have the key to interpret his works," which "M. Gide, . . . Kafka-like, has only vaguely indicated"; Le Proces, therefore, "does not play fair with its audience," many of whom "rightfully cling to the old Gallic notion that in the theatre, at least, the writer must make some kind of sense"—while, presumably, the novelist is not so obligated, since explanatory notes and prefaces can helpfully be added. Savacool's review, which also takes Gide and Barrault to task for "violating the faith which brings an audience into the theatre to see an imitation of life" (Savacool 7), now seems ironic in the extreme, given the rise, shortly afterwards, of Beckett, Ionesco, and the Absurd. At the same time, even some of Kuhn's "more discerning" critics demonstrate that Barrault's intention to make the play relevant had at least been successfully communicated, or that Barrault's work was nonetheless of high quality. Maja Goth, for example, writes that all of Barrault's "equivalences," by virtue of their sheer variety, "have nothing to do with the dead atmosphere of the authentic Procefi. K.'s trial at the Marigny is nothing more than a court of the Gestapo or the GPU; it gives little space to the interior trial" (Goth/PM 249; emphasis added)83; while Paul Claudel, whom 8 2 "Eine enorme Zahl guter Theaterbesucher wttrden [die Theater] verlassen, die keine 'philosophische Schulung' erhalten haben" (From the German translation presented in Prisma 17, 1948). 8 3 "Le proces du K. de Marigny n'est qu'une instance de la Gestapo ou de la guepeou; il fait peu de place au proces interieur." 92 both Goth and Ira Kuhn mistakenly name as criticizing Barrault for achieving a different atmosphere from the novel's (Goth 249-250; I. Kuhn, "Metamorphosis" 236), refers to Barrault as "a man of genius" (Claudel's emphasis; Claudel, "Le Proces de Kafka"/PM l).8 4 Even Jean Roy, in Les Temps Modernes, whose review praises and condemns both dramatic text and performance text in roughly equal measure, wrote, "The whole has, nonetheless, the rare merit of satisfying both those who have read Kafka and those who have not" (J. Roy/PM 1535).85 In short, the reviewers and contemporary critics of the production are enough at variance