His convoluted romantic plots and counterplots can seem precious and static, especially since they're less acted out than talked about in the elaborately refined coils of half-truths and epigrams known as "marivaudage
With his witty dialogue and deep, sometimes contrived, analysis of love and the art of lust, the term "Marivaudage
" became accepted and still connotes clever banter in modern French.
Saintsbury concedes that during the ten years he has been studying the subject "considerable attention has undoubtedly been given by English writers to style." In his view, this effort has not led to any "distinct improvement in the quality of the product." The faults he detects in contemporary prose may be summed up under the two headings of the "Aniline style" and "the style of Marivaudage
." Like a synthetic dye, the first deals in "a gorgeous and glaring vocabulary." The second, resembling the delicate verbiage hostile critics attributed to Marivaux, offers "unexpected turns and twists of thought or phrase ...
Et sous la legerete, le marivaudage
apparent du dialogue des deux spectres, perce la encore une profonde tristesse, car"--L'Espoir a fui, vaincu, dans le ciel noir" (97).
Bixiou's listeners continuously attack his story-telling technique as "marivaudage
." For example, when he begins to enumerate the camelias worn by Isaure at a ball, Bixiou is interrupted by his companion Blondet: "Allons, voila les trois cents chevres de Sancho!" (351), an allusion to Don Quixote's exhortation to Sancho Panza to get to the point.
His nimble, suggestive, idiosyncratic wordplay (dubbed "marivaudage
") had been considered largely untranslatable into American speech, but Wadsworth crafted his own fluid adaptations of the scripts, working first from a literal translation of The Triumph of Love by Nadia Benabid.
This type of verbal preciousness is still known as marivaudage
His subtly nuanced, precious language is so peculiar to him that the term marivaudage
has been coined to describe it.
The idea is to update the so-called "marivaudage
" (slyly crafted theatrical banter and intricate machinations) of Marivaux's plays to the rat-a-tat-tat slang and lazy courtship rituals of today's youth.
The formality of speech and gesture of Marivaux's 18th-century beau monde is likely to appear over-rarefied to us, while his "marivaudage
" might seem downright alien.
The Countess Isabelle Huppert The Chevalier Sandrine Kiberlain Trivelin Pierre Arditi Lelio Mathieu Amalric Harlequin Alexandre Soulie Frontin Philippe Vieux The French term for sly, witty banter is "marivaudage
," in honor of Marivaux, Gaul's most famous playwright after Moliere.