Paris, Julliard, 1981.
Marcel Pagnol here compiles prefaces he wrote for his drama plays. They are memories and anecdotes about his various artworks: from "LES MARCHANDS DE GLOIRE" ("MERCHANTS OF GLORY") to "FABIEN". He recalls his torments as a young author in search of a theatre for "TOPAZE", his first meeting with great Raimu, Alida Rouffe, Fernand Charpin and all the people who would later become his film heroes.
I did not know that I loved Marseille, city of merchants, brokers and forwarding agents. I found the Vieux Port dirty, and it was; and, until then, I had hardly ever been touched by the picturesque old districts and had always failed to catch the charm of the littered small streets. But absence often discloses love... Four years of my life in Paris helped me realize it: sometimes I would see in my dreams the cheerful fishermen and fishmonger's world, the customs officers behind gates on the dockside, and the sworn weighers whose corpses Sherlock Holmes would have identified without difficulty as one of their hands, holding the pen, is brown and the other is white for always in the shade under the wide open notebook...
Then I recovered the smell in deep shops where you can see coils of rope, folded sails on shelves and large copper lanterns hanging from the ceiling; I saw the small shady bars along the wharves, and the fresh ladies from Marseille behind their stalls full of shells. Then, fondly, I began to write the story of "MARIUS" at the same time as I was working on "TOPAZE".