The Misanthrope (Translated by Henri Van Laun with an Introduction by Eleanor F. Jourdain)

The Misanthrope (Translated by Henri Van Laun with an Introduction by Eleanor F. Jourdain)

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Overview

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known popularly by his stage name Molière, is regarded as one of the masters of French comedic drama. When Molière began acting in Paris there were two well-established theatrical companies, those of the Hôtel de Bourgogne and the Marais. Joining these theatrical companies would have been impossible for a new member of the acting profession like Molière and thus he performed with traveling troupes of actors in the French provinces. It was during this period that Molière would refine his skills as both an actor and a writer. Eventually his reputation would increase allowing him to return to Paris where he gained the patronage of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, the brother of the King of France, Louis XIV. In this volume one of Molière’s most popular works is presented, one in which the author draws upon his bourgeoisie upbringing in 17th century France. “The Misanthrope” is a comedy of errors which satirizes the hypocrisies of French aristocratic society. The story is concerned with the relationship between Alceste, a French gentleman who laments the superficiality of society life, and Célimène, a woman who epitomizes the courtly manners that Alceste despises. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper, is translated by Henri Van Laun, and includes an introduction by Eleanor F. Jourdain.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420956252
Publisher: Neeland Media
Publication date: 09/14/2017
Pages: 54
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.13(d)

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The Misanthrope 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Moliere has long been on my to-read list because his comedies were on a list of "100 Significant Books" I was determined to read through. The introduction in one of the books of his plays says that of his "thirty-two comedies... a good third are among the comic masterpieces of world literature." The plays are surprisingly accessible and amusing, even if by and large they strike me as frothy and light compared to comedies by Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Wilde, Shaw and Rostand. But I may be at a disadvantage. I'm a native New Yorker, and looking back it's amazing how many classic plays I've seen on stage, plenty I've seen in filmed adaptation and many I've studied in school. Yet I've never encountered Moliere before this. Several productions of Shakespeare live and filmed are definitely responsible for me love of his plays. Reading a play is really no substitute for seeing it--the text is only scaffolding. So that might be why I don't rate these plays higher. I admit I also found Wilbur's much recommended translation off-putting at first. The format of rhyming couplets seemed sing-song and trite, as if I was reading the lyrics to a musical rather than a play. As I read more I did get used to that form, but I do suspect these are the kinds of works that play much better on stage than on the page.Misanthrope was the first Moliere play I ever read, and arguably the most famous of all his plays. The introduction in what might seem an oxymoron calls it a comic King Lear, and I can see that side of it. As comic as this might read, it is basically a tragedy about the young man Alceste, the "misanthrope" of the play, who makes such a fetish of always being honest he alienates everyone around him. The character I enjoyed the most was definitely the malicious Arsinoe who plays the prude. The catty scenes between her and Alceste's love Celimene is particularly hilarious.
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