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The Misanthrope and Other Plays: "Such Foolish Affected Ladies", "Tartuffe", "The Misanthrope", "The Doctor Despite Himself", "The Would-be Gentleman", "Those Learned Ladies" (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Jean-Baptiste Moliere , David Coward , John Wood
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: £10.99
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Book Description

30 Mar 2000 Penguin Classics
In the seventeenth century, Molière raised comedy to the pitch of great art and, three centuries later, his plays are still a source of delight. He created a new synthesis from the major comic traditions at his disposal. This collection demonstrates the range of Molière's comic vision, his ability to move between the broad and basic ploys of farce to the more subtle and sophisticated level of high comedy. The Misanthrope appears along with Such Preposterously Precious Ladies, Tartuffe, A Doctor Despite Himself, The Would-Be Gentleman, and Those Learned Ladies.

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The Misanthrope and Other Plays: "Such Foolish Affected Ladies", "Tartuffe", "The Misanthrope", "The Doctor Despite Himself", "The Would-be Gentleman", "Those Learned Ladies" (Penguin Classics) + The Country Wife (NHB Drama Classics)
Price For Both: £13.53

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  • The Country Wife (NHB Drama Classics) £4.74


Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; 2Rev Ed edition (30 Mar 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014044730X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140447309
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13.1 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 323,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Authors

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Product Description

Review

'The translator as star - that's Ranjit Bolt' Financial Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Molière was born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin in Paris in 1622. He began studying law but gave it up in favour of an acting career. A gifted actor, director and writer, he is remembered as the creator of French classical comedy. He died in 1673 aftera performance of The Hypochondriac. John Wood was involved with theatrical productions of Molière as a producer and translator. David Coward is a Professor of French at the University of Leeds. He has translated many French novels and plays.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Such Foolish Affected Ladies, the first play Moliere wrote after his return to Paris, was staged as an end-piece to an undistinguished royal command performance of Corneille's tragedy, Cinna. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars difficult read 18 Aug 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my French A level so it is not my usual reading material! Hopefully it will help me with my studies!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a standard edition of a classic play, at a very good price. A minor point: the cover shown on the main listing (showing a very cross cat face) is different from that on the book you get; and it is different again from the cover you see if you click on the image to expand it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Play 30 April 2009
Format:Paperback
This is a superb play which make slight of human folly and hypocrisy and holds some relevance today. It is written in the 17th century this is regarded as Molière's best work. The play is about a man who passes judgment on the hypocrisy of the other protagonists without seeing his folly and inconsistency of judgement.

The 1992 edition, of which I am writing, is the 1876 Henri van Laun translation and has a very basic introduction and no notes to text.
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7 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Crimp's version of the Misanthrope is shallow. 24 Jan 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Martin Crimp has taken Moliere's the Misanthrope and turned it into a tale of whiners and one-dimensional characters. The entire play reeks of self-absorption. There is no arch to any of the characters. They each remain the same throughout the entire piece, and no one learns anything in the end of all of it. The play consists of one scene after another of characters who are out to get each other and genuinely do not like one another. It leaves the reader (or audience) with a feeling of hatred towards all of the characters. There is not a single character for a genuine feeling human being to identify with. They are all so self-obsessed and shallow that they do not even think to stop and deal with the problems they have with each other. Even Alceste, who claims to be fed up with all the hypocrisy, leads his own life in hypocrisy because he is too involved in himself to listen to his girlfriend and actually put a little faith in someone besides himself. Crimp needs to go back and revise to have at least one scene in which there is not a major argument. At the moment, there is not a single point at which the audience can relax. They are too caught up in all the tensions between all the characters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Misanthrope is the ultimate in theatrical comedy 25 April 1999
By Dravedun@Aol.com or Brandon Dunn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Moliere's "The Misanthrope" is the most humorous play written in any language. It centers around the character Alceste, who has a firm beleif in being brutally honest all the time. The habit of others to speak harshly behind other's backs and hypocritically praise them to their faces drives him to the brink of insanity. It irks him so much that his only wish would be to become a hermit in the mountains. If it weren't for his love of the beautiful Celimene. However, to make things more complicated, she happens to be the queen of duplicitous thought. Alceste hates himself for loving a woman who behaves in the manner that irritates him the most, but cannot bring himself to confront what troubles him. That, paired with the remarkably written exchanges between Alceste, his friend Philinte, the pompous Oronte, and the many social courtiers and French aristocracy make this the ideal story to bring you to tears with laughter. I highly recommend this book to all lovers of theater, humor, and excellent writing. It truly deserves all 5 stars.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent version of the "Shakespeare of France" 14 April 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Donald M. Frame's translations of fourteen Moliere comedies (seven in this volume and another seven in *Tartuffe and Other Plays*) are delightful. Not that Moliere's plays have lacked for translators; some versions have made the comedies leaden and dull, while others have added their own luster to the text in a way that distorts Moliere's intentions. Frame is more faithful to the original text than some earlier translators, while his verse does an admirable job of conveying the comic "thrust" that Moliere must have envisioned.
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
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hysterical 30 May 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
You might not think a play in verse written in the 17th century would be accessible and entertaining today, but this one's hilarious. Somehow the formal rhyming couplets make everything funnier. Get the Donald Frame translation - I've seen some others that weren't nearly as good.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moliere seems closer to us than Shakespeare. 25 Jan 2001
By darragh o'donoghue - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Although Moliere is only half a century younger than Shakespeare, he is less hard work - there is no elaborate rhetoric or difficult, metaphysical poetry. dialogue is plain and functional. This, of course, brings him nearer to us, and we are far more likely to meet a Tartuffe, say, in everyday life than a Lear or Hamlet.
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No comedy without truth and no truth without comedy 20 Jan 2005
By Shalom Freedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Moliere said that ' there is no comedy without truth, and no truth without comedy'. And his plays are a scathing and humorous depiction of a simplified, and stylized human nature. Whether it is religious hypocrisy in ' Tartuffe' , miserliness in 'The Miser' or misanthropy in ' The Misantrhope' Moliere often focuses on one quality in order to satirize and society and mankind in general. In the Misanthrope the main character Alceste tells the truth to everyone ( except himself) and in so doing alienates everyone. This is against the advice of his best friend Philinte. At the same time he is in love with the frivolous Celimene who he attempts to change by constantly criticizing. He begs that she retire with him away from the corruption of society but she prefers society to him. The play ends with Philinte and his fiancee trying to persuade Alceste to remain.

Moliere writes in a clear, simple direct language and the surface sense of his work is readily understood. His view of human nature is harsh and critical , but redeemed by a comic laughter suggesting we are wiser if we do not take ourselves all that seriously.
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