'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.