Synopses & Reviews
Molière (1622-73) combined all the traditional elements of comedy—wit, slapstick, spectacle and satire—with a deep understanding of character to create richly sophisticated dramas which have always delighted audiences. Most are built around dangerously deluded and obsessive heroes such as The Would-Be Gentleman and The Misanthrope who threaten to blight the lives of those around them. Such Foolish Affected Ladies and Those Learned Ladies (both newly translated for this edition) expose the extravagant, fashionable fads and snobbery of the Parisian smart set, while the story of the falsely devout Tartuffe and his devoted disciple Orgon attracted huge controversy for its attack on religious hypocrisy. Finally, The Doctor Despite Himself forms a hilarious chapter in Molière's long-standing vendetta against the medical profession.
Like Shakespeare, Molière was a true man of the theatre whose comedies blend sharp insight into human nature with an unerring sense of what would work on stage and make people laugh. All his greatest achievements are included here and in the accompanying Penguin Classics volume, The Miser and Other Plays.
“Molière is probably the greatest and best-loved French author, and comic author, who ever lived. To the reader as well as the spectator, today as well as three centuries ago, the appeal of his plays is immediate and durable; they are both distinctly accessible and inexhaustible.”—Professor Donald M. Frame
“There are no better comedies than his.”—The New York Times
“Molière understands the genius of comedy, and presents it in a natural style.”—Jean Chapelain
Including The Misanthrope, The Doctor in Spite of Himself, The Miser, The Would-Be Gentleman, The Mischievous Machinations of Scapin, The Learned Woman, and The Imaginary Invalid, this collection highlights perhaps France's greatest playwright of all time.
Written during the triumphant final years of Molire's career, these seven works represent the mature flowering of his artistry and the most profound development of his vision of humanity. Includes "The Misanthrope, The Miser, The Would-Be Gentleman," and four other plays, along with a new Afterword. Reissue.
'Including The Misanthrope, The Doctor in Spite of Himself, The Miser, The Would-Be Gentleman, The Mischievous Machinations of Scapin, The Learned Woman, and The Imaginary Invalid, this collection highlights perhaps France\'s greatest playwright of all time.'
Four of the greatest French plays, in new translations
Here are four plays that continue to define French theater over three centuries after they were written. Corneilles Cinna (1641) explores absolute power in ancient Rome. Molières comedy The Misanthrope (1666) sees its antihero reject society for its hypocrisy. Racines Andromache (1667) recounts the tragedy of Hectors widow after the Trojan War, and his Phaedra (1677) shows a mother crossing the boundaries of love with her stepson. This edition features new verse translations undertaken with performance in mind, and a wealth of supplementary materials for students and actors.
The Ridiculous Precieuses * The School for Husbands * The School for Wives * The Critique of the School for Wives * The Versailles Impromptu * Tartuffe * Don Juan
This memorable collection gathers the plays of the great social satirist and playwright Molière, representing the many facets of his genius and offering a superb introduction to the comic inventiveness, richness of prose, and insight that make up Molières enduring legacy to theater, literature, and the world.
Translated and with an Introduction by Donald M. Frame, a Foreword by Virginia Scott, and a New Afterword
The Misanthrope * The Doctor in Spite of Himself * The Miser * The Would-Be Gentleman * The Mischievous Machinations of Scapin * The Learned Women * The Imaginary Invalid
The comedy,” Molière once quipped, is excellent, and they who deride it deserve to be derided.”
Written during the triumphant final years of Molières career, these seven works represent the mature flowering of his artistry and the most profound development of his vision of humanity. They are essential to appreciating the full genius of this greatest and best-loved French comic author.
With an Introduction by Donald M. Frame and an Afterword by Lewis C. Seifert
About the Author
, born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin in1622, began his career as an actor before becoming a playwright who specialized in satirizing the institutions and morals of his day. In 1658, his theater company settled in Paris in the Théâter du Petit-Bourbon. The object of fierce attack because of such masterpieces as Tartuffe
and Don Juan
, Molière nonetheless won the favor of the public. In 1665, his company became the Kings Troupe, and the following year saw the staging of The Misanthrope
, as well as The Doctor in Spite of Himself
. In 1668, he produced his bitterly comic The Miser
and, in the remaining years before his death, created such plays as The Would-Be Gentleman
, The Mischievous Machinations of Scapin
, and The Learned Women
. In 1673, Molière collapsed onstage while performing his last play, The Imaginary Invalid
, and died shortly thereafter.
Donald M. Frame was Moore Professor of French at Columbia University and an acclaimed scholar and translator of French literature. Among his notable works of translation are The Complete Essays of Montaigne, The Complete Works of Rabelais, and the Signet Classics Tartuffe and Other Plays and Candide, Zadig, and Selected Stories.
Virginia Scott is Professor Emerita in the Department of Theater of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is the author of Moliére: A Theatrical Life, The Commedia DellArte in Paris, and Performance, Poetry and Politics on the Queens Day: Catherine de Medici and Pierre de Ronsard at Fontainebleau (with Sara Sturm-Maddox).