Molière, undoubtedly one of the greatest writers of comedy in the history of theatre, won enormous success for The School for Wives (L’Ecole des Femmes) in Paris in 1662; yet this highly popular play, satirising ridiculous male attitudes to women, aroused as much hostility as critical acclaim. Arnolphe, a narrow-minded merchant hoping to marry his young ward, Agnès, is obsessed with the fear of being made a cuckold. But all his artful plans serve only to speed him towards the fate he is so desperate to avoid.
Molière himself first played the hapless merchant, and this believable character in an all too believable predicament both startled and delighted his public. This highly successful translation of The School for Wives, directed by Sir Peter Hall, ran in the West End for six months.
'Why does he write those ghastly plays that the whole of Paris flocks to see? And why does he paint such lifelike portraits that everyone recognizes themselves?' Moliere, The Impromptu at Versailles This volume brings together four of Moliere's greatest verse comedies covering the best years of his prolific writing career. Actor, director, and playwright, Moliere (1622-73) was one of the finest and most influential French dramatists, adept at portraying human foibles and puncturing pomposity. The School for Wives was his first great success; Tartuffe, condemned and banned for five years, his most controversial play. The Misanthrope is his acknowledged masterpiece, and The Clever Women his last, and perhaps best-constructed, verse piece. In addition this collection includes a spirited attack on his enemies and a defence of his theatre, in the form of two sparkling short plays, The School for Wives Criticized and The Impromptu at Versailles. Moliere's prose plays are available in a complementary Oxford World's Classics edition, Don Juan and Other Plays. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Renowned for his satirical works, Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, 1622–1673) delighted in lampooning the social pretensions and conceits of 17th-century French society. In this 1664 verse comedy with serious overtones, Tartuffe, a penniless scoundrel and religious poseur, is invited by a gullible benefactor to live in his home. Imposing a rigidly puritanical regimen on the formerly happy household, Tartuffe wreaks havoc among family members. He breaks off the daughter's engagement, attempts to seduce the wife of his host, acquires his patron's property, and eventually resorts to blackmail and extortion. But ultimately, his schemes and malicious deeds lead to his own downfall. Attacked by the Church and twice suppressed, Tartuffe opened to packed houses in 1669. Teeming with lively humor and satirical plot devices, this timeless comedy by one of France's greatest and most influential playwrights is essential reading for students of theater and literature. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
Wilbur is at the peak of his form in this stellar translation of an unusual Molière play-populated with Greeks and Greco-Roman gods and flavored with the essences of vaudeville, fan-tasy, high comedy, farce, and even opera. Afterword by Richard Wilbur.
All night and day I languish on; the sick man none can save Since those bright eyes have laid him low, to your stern laws a slave; If thus to those you love a meed of care you bring, What pain, fair Iris, will you find your foemen's hearts to wring?
The greatest writer of French classic comedy, the 17th-century playwright Molière was one of the most brilliant satirists in the history of literature. His keen observations and barbed wit deflated the pretensions of society in his day and focused a brilliant light on the universal frailties of humanity. The Imaginary Invalid, one of Molière's funniest and most incisive satires, is also among the most performed worldwide and perennially studied in world literature courses. In this entertaining gem, a hypochondriac, victimized by two pompous doctors, tests his daughter's loyalty and discovers the greed and contempt of his scheming wife.
Including The Ridiculous Precieuses, The School for Husbands, The School for Wives, Don Juan, The Versailles Impromptu, and The Critique of the School for Wives, this collection showcases the talent of perhaps the greatest and best-loved French playwright.
Translated and with an Introduction by Donald M. Frame With a Foreword by Virginia Scott And a New Afterword by Charles Newell
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