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Top Customer Reviews
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
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.
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!).
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...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Le Misanthrope is always worth reading and rereading. I suggest the film "Bicycling with Molière" before reading the text.Published 18 days ago by noraida agosto
It gets the job done and it's searchable unlike one of the Kindle versions that cost money.Published 2 months ago by Adam J. Mendoza
The book is what I expected as I already knew the play.Published 17 months ago by Mrs Margaret Moore
i wanted the misanthrope and got the misanthrope. Bare minimum. Text of play only.Published 20 months ago by Henry Prosa