The extraordinary career and impressive literary output of the ‘Father’ of Polish comedy, Aleksander Fredro, was the subject of much celebration in Poland in 1993, the bicentenary of his birth. These new translations by Noel Clark of three of Fredro’s best known plays should do much to repair the relative ignorance of his works in this country. Virgins’ Vows– generally regarded as Fredro’s most accomplished comedy – and The Annuity, both reflect the author’s awareness of the disadvantages suffered by young women in a male-dominated society. Revenge is a seemingly innocent social comedy about a property dispute, but the Russian censors of his day were not slow to spot the subversive potential of the play.
Noel Clark’s translations of Revenge and Virgins’ Vow’s have been broadcast, to much acclaim, by the BBC World Service.