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.
Don Juan, the "Seducer of Seville," originated as a hero-villain of Spanish folk legend, is a famous lover and scoundrel who has made more than a thousand sexual conquests. One of Molière's best-known plays, Don Juan was written while Tartuffe was still banned on the stages of Paris, and shared much with the outlawed play. Modern directors transform Don Juan in every new era, as each director finds something new to highlight in this timeless classic. Richard Wilbur's flawless translation will be the standard for generations to come, as have his translations of Molière's other plays. Witty, urbane, and poetic in its prose, Don Juan is, most importantly, as funny now as it was for audiences when it was first presented.
In the seventeenth century, Molière raised comedy to the pitch of great art and, three centuries later, his plays are still a source of delight. He created a new synthesis from the major comic traditions at his disposal. This collection demonstrates the range of Molière's comic vision, his ability to move between the broad and basic ploys of farce to the more subtle and sophisticated level of high comedy. The Misanthrope appears along with Such Preposterously Precious Ladies, Tartuffe, A Doctor Despite Himself, The Would-Be Gentleman, and Those Learned Ladies.
'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.
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.
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