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4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0822213895
ISBN-10: 0822213893
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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

The Underground Railroad
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"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'The translator as star - that's Ranjit Bolt' Financial Times --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Language Notes

Text: French --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,719,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
[This review is for the Dover Thrift Edition, based on the 1876 Henri Van Laun translation.]

Whenever one comes across comedy from a century or more ago, the "comedy" part seems lost as it belongs too, much to a different era.

Not so with Moliere's "The Misanthrope". Although written some 350 years ago, it is a funny and clever today as ever (actually, much cleverer today, given the state of today's comedy in comparison).

The key is that the characters and situations presented are as common today as in 17th century France. The hypocrites, the sycophants, the two-faced, the flirts, and ofcourse the perpetually morally outraged.

It is a rather short play, but immensely funny and well worth the read (the exchange between Alceste and Orontes on the latter's sonnet are hilarious!).
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Format: Paperback
As a product this book is excellent. As another reviewer pointed out Moliere's is just a little bit younger than Shakespeare. Of course this book is a translation. But I think that Moliere was more of a popular type playwright. It is inconceivable to me that the average person in Shakespeare's time and place spoke the way he writes in his later plays. In fact in studying other playwrights in England that are contemporaries of Shakespeare I found them much more accessible. Moliere is more like of a popular style, if his translations are accurate and I have studied various translations.

Some of his work is extremely witty. I have the same experience with Moliere that I have with other playwrights including Shakespeare. I need to study the play AND see or hear it performed. I have done this with audiobooks with Moliere's plays and it really adds to the experience to me. Thank You...
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