Archival Collections
Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Maurice Valency papers, 1945-1963 

Valency, Maurice, 1903-1996.
Phys. Desc: 
1.5 linear feet (1.5 linear feet 3 boxes)
Call Number: 
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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Biographical Note

Maurice Valency (1903-1996) was an American playwright, critic, author, and translator. Valency was born March 22, 1903 in New York City and was educated at the City College of New York and Columbia University. Valency was a professor of comparative literature at Columbia University and taught dramatic literature at Julliard (where he also served as their director of academic studies) and Brooklyn College. Valency was most active as a playwright in the 1940s and 1950s with such works as Ondine, The Madwoman of Chaillot (both adaptations from French dramatist Jean Giraudoux), The Visit (adapted from Swiss dramatist Friedrich Duerrenmatt), and La Perichole (adapted from German-born French composer Jacques Offenbach's opera bouffe). Valency was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1960, which he used to complete his study of modern drama, The Flower and the Castle. Other awards and fellowships include a Ford Foundation Fellowship in 1958, The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best foreign play in 1949 for his adaptation of The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best foreign play in 1954 for his adaptation of Ondine by Jean Giraudoux, and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best foreign play in 1959 for his adaptation of The Visit by Friedrich Duerrenmatt. The Visit also was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play in 1959. Maurice Valency died on September 28, 1996.

Scope and Contents

Collection is comprised primarily of scripts and manuscripts of plays and adaptations written by Valency. Prominent among the manuscripts are the scripts of his celebrated English versions of Jean Giraudoux's The Madwoman of Chaillot and Ondine, both of which contain his autograph corrections and emendations, as well as the script for the opera bouffe, La Perichole, which was performed during the New York Metropolitan Opera's 1956-1957 season. Also present in the collection are scripts and manuscripts of Valency's The Apollo of Bellac, The Thracian Horses, A Double Life, The Better Half, a German adaptation of Valency's The Thracian Horses for Swiss television, as well as newspaper and magazine clippings, telegrams, and the typescript, bearing autograph notations, of Valency's study of modern drama entitled The Flower and the Castle, which was published in 1963.