Revelatory Letters to Nina Cassian/

Maurice Edwards, Author


 By Eve Berliner



Photograph by Sergey Lovochko




Maurice Edwards, a renaissance man in the spheres of the 21st century.





Revelatory Letters to Nina Cassian/

Maurice Edwards, Author



By Eve Berliner



          “Revelatory Letters to Nina Cassian,” a Proustian exploration, a work of memory,

intellectual journey, stream of conscious; a symphony of language and art and dance and music and literature; at times a cacophony!


Maurice Edwards, its author, a man of voracious knowledge, steeped in art, culture, music, literature, theatre;  the poet, Nina Cassian, his Muse, his wife, to whom he dedicates his letters, his love and his inspiration.


Edwards, a grand man of letters, a renaissance man, co-founder of the renowned experimental theatre Cubiculo, artistic director of the acclaimed Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of the great Lukas Foss, a unique tragi-comic, rich presence on the stages of Broadway, in small off beat theatres, and on the stage of life.


The Second World War took its awful toll on Maurice, infantryman in the 69th  Division, First Army, in pursuit of the retreating Germans.  The Colonel, shot through the head, died in his arms. 


He ended up in post-war Paris, 1945-46, deep into the romanticism, the history, the creative aura of the city and he became friends with Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas and he became close to them -- “Gertrude seated exactly in the pose Picasso painted her in” --  traveling in their literary salons and intellectual circles.


The greatest tragedy of his life was the sad trick fate played upon him when he fell in love and married the young, artistic, high-spirited woman named Ann who bore him a beautiful son, Jacob.  Ann’s life was to slowly come apart, afflicted by mental aberration and tortures of the schizophrenic mind, delusions and madness, and the urgencies and emergency hospitalizations and harrowing horrors came to dominate --  “as I pulled her and Jacob with difficulty out from under the piano, and she asked that I take her to the hospital, “ -- Ann ending up in Pilgrim State Hospital in Nassau County, a dungeon of misery.  The child, Jacob, touched by fierce bursts of temper, strange animalistic rollings on the floor and mental sufferings.


He was to become something of a recluse, a hoarder and died suddenly at the age of 53 of heart failure.


The life of the theatre became Maurice’s playhouse  as actor, director, producer, performing in the original Broadway casts of Fiddler on the Roof,  Threepenny Opera,  and with the The Classic Theatre in Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground. He  portrayed “The Father” in the enchanting, lyrical long running musical, The Fantasticks, and also went on to stage several operas and perform his own cabaret programs of Weill/Brecht songs. 


The book is a life of the mind and the artistic spirit.  He has  known the greats and the near greats, languages of the world,  cultural icons and read the great literature and been enthralled by the music of the ages.  At 90 years old, he is still at the opening of the odyssey.





“Revelatory Letters to Nina Cassian,” by Maurice Edwards is published by QCC Art Gallery Press, 222-05 56th Avenue, Bayside, NY  11364