The Misanthrope/ Tartuffe by Molière

The Misanthrope/ Tartuffe

Critics have heralded Richard Wilbur's translations of Molière's seventeenth-century dramas as masterpieces. In brilliant rhymed couplets Wilbur renders into English not only the form and spirit of Molière's language but also its substance.The Misanthrope, one of Molière's most popular plays, is a searching comic study of falsity, shallowness, and self-righteousness. The misanthrope in this case is Alceste, a man whose conscience and sincerity...

Details The Misanthrope/ Tartuffe

TitleThe Misanthrope/ Tartuffe
Release DateOct 20th, 1965
PublisherMariner Books
GenrePlays, Drama, Classics, Cultural, France

Reviews The Misanthrope/ Tartuffe

  • david
    I would imagine that between the time of Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde many important and disparate events occurred throughout the world.But, who cares?I am not a historian nor an academic. I have not a clue as to what went on during these two-three hundred years. In fact, I can hardly recall the last two hundred hours.This is astonishing work. As we say in Dordogne, “Holy Cannoli.” Or, in Puglia we might exclaim, “mon Dieu.”Rhyming stanzas...
  • William1.0
    Read The Misanthrope and was surprised by how it held me. Generally, I find plays very dead on the page. Not this one. Moliere's keen wit and sharp characterizations comes through beautifully. He has this very light touch. And here's the funny thing--the play's in verse! Rhyming couplets for the most part. Here's part of what translator Wilbur says about it: "In this play, society itself is indicted, and though Alceste's criticisms are indiscrimi...
  • E. Crawford
    Now this little book should be required reading in every college in the English-speaking world. Richard Wilbur and Molière saved my life as I transitioned from college to find something human and meaningful in the wider world. This comedy was my companion and guide to surviving as a mere semi-misanthrope rather than a full-on enemy of all-too-human humanity. A touchstone of my understanding of humanity, every bit as much as anything that Shakesp...
  • Bbrown
    Clichés are a strange thing to judge an older text by, since it's often hard to say whether something that is commonplace and tired today wasn't fresh and revolutionary at the time. While I can't be sure about how new the tropes used by Molière in these two plays were when they were written, I know that they struck me as stale when I read them today. Tartuffe features a bumbling, foolish, and quick to anger husband and a clever wife trying to u...
  • Terry
    When I reread these plays last summer, I thought to myself, "Someone needs to write a rhyming verse play about America's farcical election." I even sketched it out: a vaguely Frenchish court abuzz over the news that the king intends to appoint a new minister of everything, various courtiers puffing themselves up with expectation, the surprise news that the court jester intends to put himself forward... That was back when it all still seemed so la...
  • Jeremy
    Written in the ~1660s, I loved these two plays. Wilbur translated these into rhyming prose, like the original, which makes the reading fun, and the wording was excellent throughout. In The Misanthrope, Alceste has a tendency to speak his mind bluntly, without regard for consequences. To that extent I see misanthropic tendencies in myself. The play is full of sarcasm and wit, which I loved. Tartuffe is a pious Christian hypocrite. Orgon doesn’t ...
  • Jhoel Centeno
    3.75/5*Moliere is just amazing and his french comedies are the true art form of French theatre . These translations do much more than justice to what Moliere truly wanted to advocate for. My favorite being Tartuffe, I couldn’t ask for anything more !
  • Judy G
    I chose this book for the title - Misanthrope and I didnt read Tartuffe. This is a very old play from 1600s. It is delightful and disturbing at the same time ...Judy
  • Val
    Like reading the most fucked up episode of Curb ever. 10/10 recommend. Found myself relating to Alceste on a near spiritual level, which may or may not be good.
  • Deanna
    2 stars for The Misanthrope and 5 stars for Tartuffe.The Misanthrope by Moliere is a French comedy written in 1666. The main character Alceste despises the current trends in French society of empty praise and unmerited flattery and decides instead to denounce all men and speak with brutal honesty instead. His friend Philinte advocates a less confrontational approach calling him to be more lenient and to cease his rantings. He points out Alceste's...
  • Brian
    In this volume, containing Moliere's "The Misanthrope" and "Tartuffe" we get two of his greatest comedies. One rather high minded and philosophic, and the other an early form of satire. I will break this review into two parts, examining each play as a separate unit.First up is "The Misanthrope" which is a joy to read, if for no other reason than the witty and razor sharp wordplay of its leading characters. This play focuses on Alceste a man who h...
  • Lisa (Harmonybites)
    Moliere has long been on my to-read list because his comedies were on a list of "100 Significant Books" I was determined to read through. The introduction in one of the books of his plays says that of his "thirty-two comedies... a good third are among the comic masterpieces of world literature." The plays are surprisingly accessible and amusing, even if by and large they strike me as frothy and slight compared to comedies by Aristophanes, Shakesp...
  • Patdmac7
    I did not read this particular edition but it was with these two plays in addition to The Sicilian or Love the Painter in one book.The MisanthropeThere's precious little satisfaction in the most glorious of reputations if one finds that one has to share it with the whole universe. 26I take men as they are, school myself to bear with what they do, and, in my opinion, my self-possession is no less philosophical than your intemperate spleen. 28Ay! C...
  • Dawn
    I have read Tartuffe a number of times in college for various classes, but always in prose. This is lovely, because it keeps the structure of the rhyming couplets from the original French. Also, I had only read The Misanthrope perhaps once in my studies; I'd forgotten what a pleasure it is.
  • Sam Ruddick
    i haven't read tartuffe. i probably will eventually. for now, i've only read the misanthrope. it was funny, but the rhyming couplets got old. this may have been a failing of the translation, but i looked around at some other translations of other plays, and it looks to me like the variations aren't that substantial unless the play is translated into prose. i think it would lose a great deal in prose, notably the wit, but it's mostly end-stopped, ...
  • Carrie
    2015 Reading Challenge(Even though this book contained two different plays I am counting them together)- A classic romance- A book that became a movie- A funny book- A book with a one-word title- A book set in a different country- A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit- A book with a love triangle- A book by an author you've never read before- A book that was originally written in a different language- A playThe Misanthrope:Alcest is ...
  • Matt
    Tartuffe is probably one of Moliere’s most well-known plays. Mostly because of the controversy it generated in his time and its subsequent banning. The hyper-hypocritical religiosity of Tartuffe didn’t sit well with the Church. So, yeah, it’s funny. And really not that controversial since the focus is more on the superficially religious and not the faith. But zealots aren’t known for their sense of humor.The Misanthrope is not as 17th cen...
  • Brenda
    Tartuffe, a pious fraud, ingratiates himself into the household a rich family and wreaks havoc.I believe that Richard Wilbur's verse translation of this play is by far the best. Years ago I played Marianne in a different translation (can't remember whose) and while it was fun, the dialogue just didn't flow in the same manner as Wilbur's. Most of the scenes are simply masterful in the way they portray Tartuffe's treachery and his dupe Orgon's fail...
  • Maria
    It feels very naughty to rate this book since I only re-read Tartuffe but such is life. I am going to play Marianne this fall so I should get to know the play really well and I imagine I will revisit the Misanthrope along the way.I was pleasantly surprised by how funny the play remains. So many of Shakespeare's comedies have aged badly that I was prepared for lots of cryptic references but they were not in evidence. Perhaps this is in part due to...
  • Sasha (whispersofthesilentwind)
    Note: Required Reading Note #2: I only read The Misanthrope Note #3: I definitely want to read the Tartuffe too and I will get around to doing that soon. Note #4: I still haven't read the Tartuffe yet. "Love, as a rule, affects men otherwise,And lovers rarely love to criticize." This was one of the pleasantest plays I've ever read. It was short and sweet. The character were ridiculous. The lines were rhyme-y which I loved. I would enjoy seei...
  • Ned Hanlon
    The Misanthrope was surprisingly bad. There's no real story here, just a collection of (somewhat still relevant) social foibles. Tartuffe, however, was much better. Moliere gives us comedy, characters to love and hate and a plot to go with his commentary on the manners of his time. Not terribly much more to say. The latter, then, is worth a read whereas the former is definitely not.(the usual caveat that judging a play based on reading it and not...
  • Algernon
    There is the genius of Moliere himself, the great playwright and impresario who wrote in a complicate rhyming meter; and there is the english translations by Richard Wilbur in rhyming couplets. It is great gift to english-speaking theatre, and a superior way to present Moliere in english, for which we must honor Wilbur.There are prose translations that are fine, but for theatrical performance as well as reading pleasure, I commend Wilbur's work a...
  • Gary Patella
    Both plays were very enjoyable. The Misanthrope: 4 1/2 stars.I found the protagonist to be quite enjoyable, and I actually agreed with him on a lot of his points of view. He came through as a real person surrounded by a sea of superficiality.Tartuffe: 3 1/2 stars.Hypocritical guy, professing how pure and religious he is, yet is obviously sleazy. I did enjoy it, but less so than The Misanthrope. The gullibility of certain individuals annoyed me, a...
  • Alex
    Okay, I like tragedy better than comedy. Sorry if that makes me all emo. These two plays by Moliere...I like them more than most comedies. I like them more than Shakespeare's comedies, and I like them at least as much as Aristophanes. They're very focused: each presents its case and makes it. I appreciate that. I suspect Alceste and Tartuffe and Dorine will stick with me as eponymous characters. But all that said, it's not like it changed my life...
  • Tortla
    Generally funny and clever and kind of Wilde-esque. I enjoyed the rhyming witticisms, and appreciate how hard this translator must have worked to make it seem so natural. (My favorite rhyme involved the word "tartuffefied")Kind of an aside: Tartuffe very strongly evoked Shakespeare to me. King Lear and Measure for Measure, specifically. (Because of the deluded old man trying to make his daughter fall in line with his absurdity and the lascivious ...
  • Jason Furman
    This time around I only read The Misanthrope. It is, of course, an absolute pleasure from the first rhyming couplet to the last. It is even more dialogue-driven than most Moliere plays, perhaps somewhat more of a discourse and debate on manners and society and a little bit less of a madcap plot--although that is not entirely lacking either. And Alceste, the misanthrope of the title, is a particularly memorable figure.
  • Marie
    Molière never fails to make a funny and accurate critique of pretenders and liars, and this is not an exception in any of the cases. In the first work, it's the classic liar being discovered, but in the second is just more than that, it's the eternal fight of the honest one rounded by hypocrite society that will let him down even when it comes to what he calls the reason of his life, love itself.
  • Nathan
    This is a pair of really good translations of some amusing satirical plays from the French enlightenment. Tartuffe reads like an adult version of Doctor Seuss (at least to my mind). I liked both of the plays and both of the poetic translations. I'd even like to see either of these performed on stage.
  • Terence Manleigh
    Richard Wilbur’s glittering verse translations are the summit of all English translations of Moliere, and here are the two greatest of the plays. Moliere perfected the satiric comedy and his themes and ideas are as valid today as at the court of Louis IV – his wit still sparkles, the jokes still work, the characters still don’t fail to amuse. A joy forever.
  • Andrea
    Act One is rather confusing; Moliere hits the audience with a bunch of characters whose roles do not really become clear until somewhere in the middle of Act Two. He sums it up all too quickly in Act Five, leaving the audience a little confused. However, the Wilbur translation is wonderful and I still marvel that it was traslated into such perfect English poetry from French.