Arthur Adamov  

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Arthur Adamov (23 August 190815 March 1970) was a playwright, one of the foremost exponents of the Theatre of the Absurd.

Adamov (originally Adamian) was born in Kislovodsk in Russia to a wealthy Armenian family, which, however, soon lost its money in 1917. In common with many other wealthy Russians of the time, Adamov was brought up with French as his first language, and in 1924 he moved to Paris.

In Paris Adamov met surrealists and edited the surrealist journal Discontinuité. He began to write plays after World War II, with La Parodie (1947) being his first. His work, influenced by Bertolt Brecht, is often dream-like and later works in particular have a political element. The title character of one of his better known works, Le Professeur Taranne (1953), is accused of various things (public nudity, littering, plagiarism), all of which he strenuously denies, only to have his denials turned against him into more evidence of misdemeanours. This particular play was directly influenced by a dream Adamov had. Lesser known to the public is his prose work with short stories like Fin Août (in Je... Ils..., 1969). Their themes revolve around topics like masochism, which the author regarded as "immunisation against death".

Adamov committed suicide by taking an overdose of barbiturates in 1970.

Selected Plays

  • L'Aveu (The Confession, 1946)
  • La Parodie (The Parody, 1950)
  • L'Invasion (The Invasion, 1950)
  • La Grande et la Petite Manoeuvre (The Grand and Small Manoeuvre, 1950)
  • Le Sens de la Marche (The Way to Go, 1953)
  • Tous contre tous (All against all, 1953)
  • Le Professeur Taranne (Professor Taranne, 1953)
  • Le Ping-Pong (Ping Pong, 1955)
  • Paolo Paoli (1957)
  • Le Printemps '71 (Spring '71, 1960)
  • Le Politique des Restes (The Politics of Rubbish, 1963)
  • Ici et Maintenant (Here and Now, 1964)
  • Sainte Europe (Holy Europe, 1966)
  • M. le Modéré (Mr. Moderate, 1968)
  • Off Limits (1969)
  • Si l'été revenait (If Summer Came Again, 1970)

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