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The Misanthrope. Paperback – January 1, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0822213895 ISBN-10: 0822213893

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (January 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822213893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822213895
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,187,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

Language Notes

Text: English
Original Language: French --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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This company listed the book as used.
canastatango
The Misanthrope is one of the best Moliere's plays but also one of the hardest to play.
Jacques Bodet Dockès
I highly recommend this book to all lovers of theater, humor, and excellent writing.
Dravedun@Aol.com or Brandon Dunn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Dravedun@Aol.com or Brandon Dunn on April 25, 1999
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.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 1997
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
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 30, 2002
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.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By darragh o'donoghue on January 25, 2001
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 19, 2005
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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