William Bertrand Busnach
Busnach was a nephew of the composer Fromental Halévy. His father was associated with David Ben Joseph Coen Bakri, to whom France was indebted to the amount of some twenty-odd million francs for provisions furnished to Napoleon Bonaparte in Egypt. The lawsuit lasted for more than fifty years, and Busnach and his partner were not paid in full at the end. The elder Busnach, an Algerian Jew, became a naturalized Italian in the time of the Deys, and was the first interpreter of the French army. He established himself in Paris in 1835. William — an Italian Jew born in France of an Algerian father, with a German (European way of writing the Arabic name Boujnah is a more logic explanation) surname and an English given name — was at first employed in the customs department. He subsequently devoted himself to dramatic work, writing many plays, a number of which have been successful. They include: Les Virtuoses du Pavé, 1864; Première Fraîcheur, Paris-Revue, 1869; Héloïse et Abélard, with music by Henry Litolff, 1872; Forte en Gueule, La Liqueur d'Or, in collaboration with A. Liorat, music by Laurent de Rillé 1873; Kosiki, with Liorat, music by Alexandre Charles Lecocq, 1876.
In 1867 Busnach assumed the direction of the Athénée theatre, where several of his operettas (Fleur de Thé, etc.) were performed. His greatest successes he achieved, however, with his adaptation of celebrated novels for the stage; for example, L'Assommoir, 1881; Nana, 1882; Pot-Bouille, 1883, all by Émile Zola; Le Petit Jacques, by Jules Claretie, 1885; La Marchande des Quatre Saisons, etc.
Busnach is also the author of the following novels: La Fille de M. Lecoq, 1886; Le Petit Gosse, 1889; Cyprienne Guérard, 1895, etc.