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The Grove Companion Entry All That Fall

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  sorrow at first memory of lying side by side and fancy murmured dead.” ll That Fall  : SB wrote to Nancy Cunard  (4 July 1956): “Saw Barry of BBC TV who isinterested in the mime  (and why not?) and am told Gielgud wants a play for 3rd Programme. Never thought about radio play technique but in the dead of t’other night got a nice gruesomeidea full of cartwheels and dragging of feet and puffing and panting which may or may not leadto something.” It did—to a one-act play in English (“ Ussy  September 1956”), translated byRobert Pinget  as Tous ceux qui tombent  . The autograph copy is titled “Lovely Day for theRaces,” a flippant greeting in a town like Foxrock  , with the Leopardstown  Racecourse nearby.BBC 3 liked the play, recorded it (dir. Donald McWhinnie , with Mary O’Farrell and J. G.Devlin), and broadcast it (Sunday, 13 January 1957; repeated 19 January). It was favorablyreviewed, critics noting the affinity between SB’s work and radio, and comparing it with Dylan Thomas ’s Under Milk Wood  . The BBC entered it, unavailingly, for the 1957 Italia Prize (later given to “ Embers ”).The American production, part of a Beckett Festival of Radio Plays, coproduced bySoundscape and RIAS, Berlin, dir. Everett Frost, was broadcast on National Public Radio (13April 1986, SB’s eightieth birthday), with Billie Whitelaw  and David Warrilow . Despite qualms,SB authorized a French  TV version adapted by Robert Pinget, shown by RTF (25 Janvier 1963). A German stage production was given at the Schiller-Theater , Berlin (January 1966);SB was not happy with either. First published, Grove Press , 1957; Grove issued a separateedition with a green cover and Christmas trees, “With Best Wishes for the Holiday Season fromGrove Press.” Reprinted in  Krapp’s Last Tape  and Other Pieces  (1965), 29–91. The first Faber edition, 1957, was subtitled “A Play for Radio.” Small deletions were made after the firstrecording. A German translation (  Alle, die da fallen ) appeared in  Dramatische Dichtungen  2(Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1964), 6–81.The action is simple but eventful. Maddy Rooney , minimally mobile after a protractedillness, shuffles to Boghill  station to meet her blind husband, Dan, returning from his Dublin office on his birthday. The mood is set by Schubert ’s “Death and the Maiden,” which Maddyhears from “a ruinous old house” she passes. She meets the dung seller Christy ; pines for “Little Minnie!,” the child  she lost fifty years earlier; and encounters Mr. Tyler , grandchildless because they “removed everything, you know, the whole … er … bag of tricks” from hisdaughter. She is greeted by Mr. Slocum , “her old admirer,” now clerk of the racecourse.Dickensian comedy unfolds as he squeezes Maddy into his automobile: “I’m coming, Mrs.Rooney, I’m coming, give me time, I’m as stiff as yourself.” They run over a hen . Sheencounters Miss Fitt, unfit for the corporeal world: “I am not there” (see Footfalls ). Maddyasks for human kindness, reluctantly administered (“the Protestant thing to do”), to help her upto the platform.Some mishap has delayed the train, and when it arrives blind Dan is last to alight. The tonechanges, from light comedy to dark innuendo. Dan longs to sit before the fire, blinds drawn, andhave Maddy read to him: “I think Effie  is going to commit adultery with the Major.” As they areeered by the Lynch  twins, Dan asks Maddy, “Did you ever wish to kill a child? (  Pause ). Nipsome young doom in the bud.” They proceed, “Like Dante ’s damned, with their faces arsy-versy.” Maddy tells of “attending a lecture by one of these new mind doctors” ( Jung ), who  discussed a patient: “The trouble with her was,” admits the doctor, “she had never really been born!” Noting the text of Sunday’s sermon, “The Lord upholdeth all that fall and raiseth up allthose that be bowed down” (Psalms 145:14), they burst into “wild laughter” (see Hardy ).Young Jerry returns “a kind of ball ” to Dan, and Maddy asks about the delay. “It was a littlechild fell out of the carriage,” replies Jerry.  All That Fall   has uncanny naturalistic qualities (precise locale with realistic ambient sounds),yet is replete with images of death, deterioration, and infertility, ranging from the Schubert lied  that opens and closes the play to the dead hen and Dante’s damned. The weather degeneratesfrom a “Divine day” to the final “Tempest of wind and rain.” Maddy and Dan live a purgatorial existence in a fallen world. Deteriorating like so many of SB’s characters, they seem invidious of life. Does blind Dan fantasize about nipping “some young doom in the bud,” or was he involvedin the child’s having “fallen” from the train? Was this an act of retribution for the loss of hisown child? And what of little Minnie’s demise (an abortion)? There are black secrets in the livesof the moribund Rooneys, about which they brood and which we glimpse only darkly. Everyoneelse, except the unseen person who replays “Death and the Maiden,” seems preoccupied withrace day. Amiel, Henri-Frédéric  (1821–81): professor of aesthetics and philosophy at Geneva, his ournal intime  (1883) a model of Romantic  introspection. Linked with Chateaubriand  as a“melancholy Pantheist” who cannot match Proust ’s “pathological power” (  Proust  , 82). Amy : daughter of old Mrs. Winter  in Footfalls  (qv), who may have responded “Amen” atevensong but insists she was not there. Her name is an anagram of “ May ,” which links her tothe speaker, and biographically to SB’s mother . an Ankou : in Breton mythology, death’s henchman (“an” the definite article), a female spiritho travels down the lane in a cart, picking up souls. (  Dream  85; “Yellow Love” may be yellowfever.) Compare  How It Is  (89): “wheels drawing near iron felly.” Andrea del Sarto  (1486–1530): Florentine  artist, honored with the epigraph “Andre senzaerrori.” The “faultless painter” was famously critiqued in Robert Browning’s dramaticmonologue, which documents Andrea’s problems with his wife Lucrezia. She is the subject of the painting  Madonna Lucrezia del Fede , which Belacqua  uses as an ambiguous touchstone of his feelings (  Dream , 15 and 68).“ Anna Livia Plurabelle ”: part of Work in Progress (Finnegans Wake)  translated by SB andothers in collaboration with James Joyce . Published in the  Nouvelle revue française  212 (mai1931): 633–46; later (revised) in Philippe Soupault’s Souvenirs de James Joyce  (Éditions Chariot,1943), 71–90; still later (unchanged) in  Finnegans Wake , fragments adaptés par André duBouchet (Gallimard, 1962). The first draft was prepared by SB with the help of Alfred Péron , but with “Alfy” gone SB did not want to do the translation alone, nor sign a contract with “that bastard Soupault” (who was in charge of the project). He worried that Joyce might be disgusted“by the chasm of feeling and technique between his hieroglyphics and our bastard French ” (SBto TM, 7 July 1930). His fears were realized. The translation got to the corrected proofs, when
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