Moliere - Google. Moliere - Google.

Google celebrates memory of late French writer Molière

Mon, Feb. 11, 2019

CAIRO - 11February 2019: Google celebrates the birth anniversary of late French writer Moliere, who was born on Jan. 15, 1622 and died on Feb. 17, 1673.

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, better known as Molière, was a French playwright, actor and poet, widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the French language and universal literature. His works include comedies, farces, tragicomedies, comédie-ballets, and more.

His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed at the Comédie-Française more often than those of any other playwright today. His influence is such that the French language itself is often referred to as the "language of Molière".

Born into a prosperous family and having studied at the Collège de Clermont (now Lycée Louis-le-Grand), Molière was well suited to begin a life in the theatre.

Through the patronage of aristocrats including Philippe I, Duke of Orléans—the brother of Louis XIV—Molière procured a command performance before the king at the Louvre. Performing a classic play by Pierre Corneille and a farce of his own, "The Doctor in Love", Molière was granted the use of salle du Petit-Bourbon near the Louvre, a spacious room appointed for theatrical performances.

Later, he was granted the use of the theatre in the Palais-Royal. In both locations Molière found success among Parisians with plays such as "The Affected Ladies", "The School for Husbands" and "The School for Wives". This royal favor brought a royal pension to his troupe and the title Troupe du Roi (The King's Troupe). Molière continued as the official author of court entertainment.

Despite the adulation of the court and Parisians, Molière's satires attracted criticism from churchmen. For "Tartuffe's Impiety", the Catholic Church denounced this study of religious hypocrisy followed by the Parliament's ban, while "Don Juan" was withdrawn and never restaged by Molière.

His hard work in so many theatrical capacities took its toll on his health and, by 1667, he was forced to take a break from the stage. In 1673, during a production of his final play, "The Imaginary Invalid", Molière, who suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, was seized by a coughing fit and a hemorrhage while playing the hypochondriac Argan. He finished the performance but collapsed again and died a few hours later.

Born into a prosperous family and having studied at the Collège de Clermont (now Lycée Louis-le-Grand), Molière was well suited to begin a life in the theatre.

Through the patronage of aristocrats including Philippe I, Duke of Orléans—the brother of Louis XIV—Molière procured a command performance before the King at the Louvre. Performing a classic play by Pierre Corneille and a farce of his own, The Doctor in Love, Molière was granted the use of salle du Petit-Bourbon near the Louvre, a spacious room appointed for theatrical performances. Later, he was granted the use of the theatre in the Palais-Royal.

Molière was born in Paris, to Jean Poquelin and Marie Cressé, the daughter of a prosperous bourgeois family. Upon seeing him for the first time, a maid exclaimed, "Le nez!", a reference to the infant's large nose. Molière was called "Le Nez" by his family from that time.

He lost his mother when he was 10 and he did not seem to have been particularly close to his father. After his mother's death, he lived with his father above the Pavillon des Singes on the rue Saint-Honoré, an affluent area of Paris. It is likely that his education commenced with studies in a Parisian elementary school; this was followed by his enrollment in the prestigious Jesuit Collège de Clermont, where he completed his studies in a strict academic environment and got a first taste of life on the stage.

In 1631, Jean Poquelin purchased from the court of Louis XIII the posts of "Valet of the King's Chamber and Keeper of Carpets and Upholstery". His son assumed the same posts in 1641.

Poquelin also studied as a provincial lawyer sometime around 1642, probably in Orléans, but it is not documented that he ever qualified. So far he had followed his father's plans, which had served him well; he had mingled with nobility at the Collège de Clermont and seemed destined for a career in office.

In June 1643, when Molière was 21, he decided to abandon his social class and pursue a career on the stage. Taking leave of his father, he joined the actress Madeleine Béjart, with whom he had crossed paths before, and founded the Illustre Théâtre with 630 livres.

They were later joined by Madeleine's brother and sister.

Despite his own preference for tragedy, which he had tried to further with the Illustre Théâtre, Molière became famous for his farces, which were generally in one act and performed after the tragedy.

Some of these farces were only partly written, and were played in the style of Commedia dell'arte with improvisation over a vague plot outline.

He also wrote two comedies in verse, but these were less successful and are generally considered less significant.

Later in life Molière concentrated on writing musical comedies, in which the drama is interrupted by songs and/or dances.

"Les Précieuses Ridicules" won Molière the attention and the criticism of many, but it was not a popular success.

He then asked Fiorillo to teach him the techniques of Commedia dell'arte.

His 1660 play “The Imaginary Cuckold” seems to be a tribute both to Commedia dell'arte and to his teacher. Its theme of marital relationships dramatizes Molière's pessimistic views on the falsity inherent in human relationships.

This view is also evident in his later works, and was a source of inspiration for many later authors, including (in a different field and with different effect) Luigi Pirandello. It describes a kind of round dance where two couples believe that each of their partners has been betrayed by the other's and is the first in Molière's 'Jealousy series' which includes "Dom Garcie de Navarre", "L'École des maris" and "L'École des femmes".

On February 20, 1662, Molière married Armande Béjart.

The same year, he premiered "L'École des femmes" (The School for Wives), subsequently regarded as a masterpiece. It poked fun at the limited education that was given to daughters of rich families, and reflected Molière's own marriage.

Both this work and his marriage attracted much criticism. The play sparked the protest called the "Quarrel of L'École des femmes". On the artistic side, he responded with two lesser-known works: "La Critique de L'École des Femmes", in which he imagined the spectators of his previous work attending it.

The piece mocks the people who had criticized "L'École des Femmes" by showing them at dinner after watching the play; it addresses all the criticism raised about the piece by presenting the critics' arguments and then dismissing them. This was the so-called Guerre comique (War of Comedy), in which the opposite side was taken by writers like Donneau de Visé, Edmé Boursault, and Montfleury.

“The Learned Ladies” of 1672 is considered another of Molière's masterpieces. It was born from the termination of the legal use of music in theater, since Lully had patented the opera in France (and taken most of the best available singers for his own performances), so Molière had to go back to his traditional genre.

It was a great success, and it led to his last work, which is still held in high esteem.
In his 14 years in Paris, Molière single handedly wrote 31 of the 85 plays performed on his stage.

 
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