Abstract

Lewis/Gounod's Bleeding Nonne: An Introduction and Translation of the Scribe/Delavigne Libretto

Librettists Scribe and Delavigne transformed M.G. Lewis's Gothic episode in The Monk into a tale conforming to the conventions of mid-nineteenth-century French "grand opera." Charles Gounod's setting of this libretto closed after eleven performances in the autumn of 1854 and has never been revived. The production was beset with problems arising from opera-house and prima-donna politics, but its failure may also imply crucial cultural transformations in Europe since the revolutionary 1790's when Lewis had published his novel. A translation of the libretto gives Anglo-American scholars ready access to this paradoxical opera in the Gothic tradition.