Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière (1622-1673) was a French playwright who became known as one of the best writers of comedy in Western literature. After capturing the attention of the French King Louis XIV with a performance, Molière was given the resources to create some of the world’s greatest plays, including Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid). Molière was so dedicated to his craft that he overworked himself, falling ill in 1673. Despite his poor health, he continued to perform on stage, ironically playing a hypochondriac in Le Malade imaginaire while suffering a coughing fit. After the performance, he collapsed and later died.
Of all his work, Molière’s most famous is Tartuffe ou L'Imposteur, (Tartuffe or the Hypocrite), a biting satire of religion and religious fundamentalists at a time when Christians of different faiths were slaughtering each other across the continent. The biggest backlash against The Thirty Years War would officially come during the Enlightenment a century later, but Tartuffe makes clear that the backlash had already begun with many Europeans like Molière by the mid-17th century.
Tartuffe’s depiction of an ostensibly pious man making a conniving attempt to fleece a family garnered criticisms from moralists and the Catholic Church, and a later play by Molière, Dom Juan, was banned altogether. Today it is considered a classic, and it proved so influential that the word Tartuffe became part of the English lexicon.
This edition of Tartuffe is specially formatted with a Table of Contents and over a dozen images of scenes and characters.