Stanislavski's "My Life in Art" was written in haste during the Moscow Art Theatre's 1922-24 European and American tours and translated into a language he neither spoke nor understood by a mysterious individual (J.J. Robbins) with less than satisfactory credentials for the job. For nearly a century this has been the version available in English and for the most part anywhere in the world outside of Russia. But upon returning to Moscow Stanislavski continued to write and revise the book which was later published in Russia and considered by Stanislavski to be both definitive and the version he was satisfied with.
Thus, Jean Bendetti's new translation of the Russian version is a welcome and valuable gift, not only to actors and the theatre but to art and artistic endeavor in general. Much is the same as the original Engligh version in terms of content, but much is also new and different, never before available in English. Of particular interest are the appendices recounting Stanislavski's more personal memories of Chekhov and the later European and American tours.
An important aspect lost in the previous translation was Stanislavski's personal, conversational tone, which is how the book itself was written; i.e. Stanislavski spoke and what he said was scribed. Thus, a whole new feeling comes of this translation that is extremely valuable, if not priceless. It is nearly impossible not to feel that you know Stanislavski very personally after reading the book. Particularly in the last section (the appendix of the European-American tour) you feel as if he has spoken to you personally about the entire experience. As such the voice and personality of this great master speaks and can be discovered once more in a way that has previously not been possible. This alone is more than worth the price of the book.
Indeed this will be a valuable and cherished volume for years to come, if not an entirely new rejuvenation of what was in its time a classic, historically influential and historically significant work.