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Dream Projects in Theatre, Novels and Films

The Works of Paul Claudel, Jean Genet, and Federico Fellini

Yehuda (Jean-Bernard) Moraly is professor emeritus at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. His fields of research are mainly French theatre and film: Jean Genet, la vie écrite (Editions de la Différence, 1988); Claudel metteur en scène (Presses Universitaires de Franche Comté, 1998); Le Maître fou, Genet théoricien du théâtre, Nizet, 2009). His Revolution in Paradise: Veiled Representations of Jewish Characters in the Cinema of Occupied France (2019) is published by SAP. He is also a play- wright and his plays are published and produced in France and Israel.

Every artist has a “dream project” — an enterprise that he or she has continuously taken up but never completed. Via archived notes and drafts, a retrospective reconstitution of such projects can serve as a key for better understanding the author's artistic corpus. The present study reaches out to the authorship of Paul Claudel, Jean Genet, and Federico Fellini.

Claudel deferred and never completed the fourth segment of his Trilogie des Coufontaine. The only indication of the existence of this prospective fourth part of the theatre sequence is a brief entry in his Journal. In 1949, he began writing a third version of his first great work Tête d’Or. Like the unfinished fourth section that was to be added to the trilogy, the draft of the third version of Tête d'Or reveals a dialogue between the Old and New Testaments — a theme that appears to be central to Claudel’s entire corpus.

Genet labored over La Mort for many years. At the conclusion of Saint Genet, comédien et martyr (1952), Sartre mentions this final work of Genet. Genet discussed his progress on La Mort in correspondence and even published “Fragments” of La Mort in the literary magazine Les Temps Modernes. While the project never came to fruition, it nevertheless remains an important means through which to understand Genet’s work.

The aborted production of Fellini’s Voyage de G. Mastorna has become a legend. After and Giulietta degli spiriti, Fellini wrote a screenplay that he began to film but subsequently abandoned, much to the chagrin of producer Dino de Laurentiis who had already invested in sets and costumes. Fellini would often revisit this project, but never completed it.

This book also examines additional “dream projects” taken from different art forms: poetry (Mallarmé’s Le Livre); literature (Vigny’s Daphné); painting (Monet’s Nymphéas); music (Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron); and various films (Clouzot’s L’Enfer, Visconti’s La Recherche, Kubrick’s Napoleon, etc.).

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78976-036-1
Hardback Price: £65.00 / $74.95
Release Date: February 2021
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78976-088-0
Hardback Price: £34.95 / $49.95
Release Date: February 2021
Page Extent / Format: 240 pp. 229 x 152 m
Illustrated: Yes


Chapter 1: A Dialogue Long Dreamt of
Chapter 2: A Triply Murderous Work
Chapter 3: A Metaphysical 'James Bond Film'
Photo Credits


The book is organized in three different chapters, and is based on three incomplete projects by Paul Claudel, Jean Genet and Federico Fellini. Moraly seeks to reconstruct the different creative stages of the unfinished works. This reconstruction sheds light on the process of writing, from inception, to development, and ultimate abandonment. The author frames his discussion by exploring what led the three authors to put an end to their works before their completion. The main argument of the book is that analyzing the abandoned projects offers a crucial key to understanding each author’s complete work: “It could very well be that the unachievable work of an artist constitutes the center of his overall creation.”
Eric Touya de Mayenne (Clemson University), writing in Studies in Twentieth & Twenty-First Century Literature, Vol. 40, Issue 1 (2021) 

Yehuda Moraly follows the elaboration of uncompleted projects and compares them with the completed work by their authors in order to show how the dream project clarifies the meaning of the rest of the work (excluding obvious setbacks such as Bouvard and Pécuchet by Flaubert, interrupted by the novelist's death). The book is a reflection on three projects uncompleted by three authors that Moraly has already worked on and that accompanied all his intellectual life: Paul Claudel, who never realized the fourth piece he had considered adding to the Coûfontaine Trilogy; Jean Genet, who worked for twenty years on a project called La Mort; Federico Fellini, finally, with his Viaggio di G. Mastorna, this film that he never accomplished. […] Through the three studies on Claudel, Genet and Fellini we can see a tragic theory of creation. A recent English version of the L’oeuvre impossible, Dream Projects in Theatre, Novels and Films: The Works of Paul Claudel, Jean Genet, and Federico Fellini has been augmented by an important and developed conclusion, - evoking various works never achieved or only conceived. In addition to Le Livre by Mallarmé and Moses und Aron by Schoenberg, Yehuda Moraly analyzes the projects of Alfred de Vigny (La Seconde Consultation du Doctor Noir), of Luchino Visconti (an adaptation of In Search of Lost Time by Proust), a theatrical trilogy by Bernard Dort (The Spectator, The Theater impossible, The Actor), Claude Monet's Water Lilies and manuscripts of Isaac Newton. Jacques Bonnaure, writing in  RITIKON LITTERARUM, 2021 

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