Monsieur Croche Antidilettante

Claude Debussy’s Monsieur Croche Antidilettante was published by Dorbon and the Nouvelle Revue Française in 1921, three years after the composer’s death. However, this edition cannot be considered an entirely posthumous publication. In fact, Debussy worked on its development during the 1910s, and sent his publisher, Dorbon, a manuscript containing selected and updated articles in late 1913. In February 1914, he refused to sign off on the final page proofs, judging them to be “formless”. In a letter to Dorbon dated 28 May, he clarified his thoughts, explaining that the collection “required a considerable amount of revision in order for the little book to hold together, so that it would consist of something more than a collation of uneven articles placed side by side” (Debussy, Correspondance 1872-1918, edited by François Lesure and Denis Herlin, Paris, Gallimard, 2005, p. 1814). Clearly Debussy hesitated as to the form that the book should take. The outbreak of World War One, and Debussy’s own illness, prevented him to complete the publication of his texts. Under pressure from Dorbon and the Nouvelle Revue Française, Debussy’s wife, Emma, entrusted Louis Laloy with the task of completing the editorial work based on an unmarked set of proofs. Laloy revised the outline of the volume, and made several corrections, most notably by adding transitional sentences and abridging certain passages. At present, it is impossible to know what form Debussy would have given the book.

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digitized editions
genreMusic Criticism
editorDorbon aîné
place of publicationParis
years of publication1921
edited byLouis Laloy
later adaptation