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About the Author: Molière

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, also known by his stage name, Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among Molière's best-known dramas are Le Misanthrope, (The Misanthrope), L'Ecole des femmes (The School for Wives), Tartuffe ou l'Imposteur, (Tartuffe or the Hypocrite), L'Avare ou l'École du mensonge (The Miser), Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid), and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (The Bourgeois Gentleman).

From a prosperous family and having studied at the Jesuit Clermont College (now Lycée Louis-le-Grand), Molière was well suited to begin a life in the theatre. Thirteen years as an itinerant actor helped to polish his comic abilities while he also began writing, combining Commedia dell'Arte elements with the more refined French comedy.

Through the patronage of a few aristocrats including the brother of Louis XIV, Molière procured a command performance before the King at the Louvre. Performing a classic play by Pierre Corneille and a farce of his own, Le Docteur amoureux (The Doctor in Love), Molière was granted the use of Salle du Petit-Bourbon at the Louvre, a spacious room appointed for theatrical performances. Later, Molière was granted the use of the Palais-Royal. In both locations he found success among the Parisians with plays such as Les Précieuses ridicules (The Affected Ladies), L'École des maris (The School for Husbands) and L'École des femmes (The School for Wives). This royal favour brought a royal pension to his troupe and the title "Troupe du Roi" (The King's Troupe). Molière continued as the official author of court entertainments.

Though he received the adulation of the court and Parisians, Molière's satires attracted criticisms from moralists and the Church. Tartuffe ou l'Imposteur (Tartuffe or the Hypocrite) and its attack on religious hypocrisy roundly received condemnations from the Church while Don Juan was banned from performance. Molière's hard work in so many theatrical capacities began to take its toll on his health and, by 1667, he was forced to take a break from the stage. In 1673, during a production of his final play, Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid), Molière, who suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, was seized by a coughing fit and a haemorrhage while playing the hypochondriac Argan. He finished the performance but collapsed again and died a few hours later. In his time in Paris, Molière had completely reformed French comedy.


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Goodreads rating: 3.78

Mass Market Paperback, Published in Jan 1986 by Le Livre de Poche

ISBN10: 2253038768 | ISBN13: 9782253038764

Page count: 128

Pour se venger d'avoir été battue par son mari Sganarelle, Martine le fait passer pour un médecin, mais si fantasque qu'il faut le bastonner pour qu'il accepte d'exercer son art. Contre toute attente, ce médecin malgré lui fait merveille. Au mois d'août 1666, la pièce rencontre un succès éclatant devant le public du Palais-Royal. C'est que Molière, au sommet de son art, combine avec éclat le vieil héritage de la farce française et la leçon de la commedia dell'arte, non sans emprunter à ses propres pièces antérieures. Simple assemblage de sources diverses ? Certainement non, mais une pièce construite pour mettre en valeur les exploits de Sganarelle joué par Molière lui-même, une pièce dont l'allant ne faiblit jamais et où le génie du dramaturge - acteur, farceur, metteur en scène - n'oublie jamais l'action. Lui-même nous l'avait dit : « Les comédies ne sont faites que pour être jouées. »

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