The Satin Slipper
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By Paul Claudel
The Satin Slipper is a sweeping drama, set in the Spanish empire at the turn of the sixteenth century and permeated with a heady brew of Catholic doctrine and devotion. Colossal in scope, the play makes all the world its stage, centering on the love between the passionate Rodrigo and the self-sacrificing Prouheze, wife to Rodrigo’s rapacious rival. Around his two primary subjects, Claudel weaves a vastly intricate tapestry of politics, metaphysics, and poignant lyricism, to express how “all things minister to a Divine Purpose and so to one another.… Even the falterings of circumstance and the patternings of personality, sin and falsehood, are made to serve truth and justice, and above all, salvation in the long run.”
Hailed as “Claudel’s single greatest achievement” and “the most remarkable of his dramas,” The Satin Slipper also holds the distinction of being recognized by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) as “a most convincing” depiction of the drama of faith and the intricacies of divine providence.
Paul Claudel (1868–1955) was a French poet, dramatist, and essayist, and a convert to Roman Catholicism. A six-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Claudel achieved prominence in twentieth-century French literature for his unique prose style and powerful verse dramas. His other works include Break of Noon, A Poet Before the Cross, and Tidings Brought to Mary.