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The Misanthrope and Other Plays: A New Selection Paperback – Sep 1 2000
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“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 --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
About the Author
Moliere was the stage name of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (1622-1673). His plays achieved great success, especially his masterpiece, The Misanthrope, and elicited enormous controversy with their religious irreverence.
John Wood was born in 1900 and went to Manchester University. After some years in teaching and adult education he spent his working life in educational administration. Concern with the relevance of the arts in education, combined with personal predilection, led to involvement with the theatre and with the work of Molière in particular, as producer and translator. He also translated The Misanthrope and Other Plays and The Miser and Other Plays for Penguin Classics.
David Coward is Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Leeds, England. He won a Scott-Moncrieff prize for his edition of Albert Cohen's Belle du Seigneur.
Top Customer Reviews
However, I don't think he's supposed to be this plain. Wood's translation is a nimble, enjoyable read, but in the two translations, from French to English, from metre to prose, something has been lost; maybe not poetry, but certainly language. What we are left with are breezily amusing farces - this is more than enough for me, but makes me wonder why Bloom had him in his canon.
'Tartuffe' is the most famous play in this collection. Subject to censorship and interdiction in its time, Wood introduces the play with a preface and two petitions to the King from Moliere. Although they are revealing about Moliere's absolute dependency on the monarch, and the need to flatter culminating in the play's preposterous deus ex machina, they necessarily caricature the play's complexity.
Tartuffe the religious hypocrite who tries to bring down the social order, who reveals the aristocracy's own hypocrisy (look at the amount of two-facedness needed to expose him), forces them down to his level, makes blatant the fundamental desires high society would prefer not to acknowledge - sex, food, wealth etc. The true horror of Tartuffe's marriage with Marianne is not that he is a repulsive bigot, but because he is trying to wrest power and means from the nobility (a job already started by the Figaro-like maid). I bet it wasn't really the Tartuffes who hated this play.
Any translation of this playwright must be compared against the sparkling verse renditions of Richard Wilbur. I personally find Frame to more than hold his own here, and in fact in *The Misanthrope* to do better in giving us the sense of the author stylishly, but without the translator "stealing the spotlight" as much as happens in Wilbur's brilliant version. Frame's version is excellent throughout and augmented by informative introductions and notes
Most recent customer reviews
"The Misanthrope" - this is the only play I read. This play is superficial and degrades, as always, women. Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2004 by MAB
You might not think a play in verse written in the 17th century would be accessible and entertaining today, but this one's hilarious. Read morePublished on May 30 2002
It is my blief that everyone should read this book. I am a high school senior and find it very insightful. In addition to that, it is also very ammusing. Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2001 by Jeremy
A tale that, at first, appears to be rather didactic and poorly composed yet a genius of the theater makes this work a tour-de-force by the play's close. Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2000 by Account Killer