Title: The Life Of Monsieur de Moliere
Publisher: Funk & Wagnalls
Publication Date: 1970
Edition: 1st Edition.
New York. 1970. Funk & Wagnalls. 1st American Edition. Very Good In Slightly Wotn Dustjacket With A Few Small Pieces Missing. Translated from the Russian by Mirra Ginsburg. 260 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Edith Dreikurs. keywords: Literature Translated Russia Drama France. inventory # 16751. FROM THE PUBLISHER - Russia’s famed playwright, novelist, and short-story writer Mikhail Bulgakov, author of the acclaimed THE MASTER AND MARGARITA, has written this fascinating account of the life of Moliere, France’s great seventeenth-century playwright. THE LIFE OF MONSIEUR DE MOLIERE is more than a biography. Mikhail Bulgakov was a lifelong admirer of Moliere, with whom he felt a deep affinity; and this portrait of one artist by another illuminates the life of the author as well as that of his protagonist. Bulgakov wrote, ‘the artist must love his subject.’ It is perhaps this love that enables him to infuse his portrait with such sensitivity and affection that can feel the presence of his hero on every page. As Bulgakov’s translator, Mirra Ginsburg, tells us: ‘There is much besides their craft that links these two men across the centuries. Both had a sharp satirical eye and an infinite capacity for capturing the absurd and the comic, the mean and the grotesque; both had to live and write under autocracies; both were fearless and uncompromising in speaking of what they saw, evoking storms with each new work; and both shared what Bulgakov calls ‘the incurable disease of passion for the theater.’‘ The life of Moliere, born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, is a story of struggle and dedication, and Bulgakov tells it with warmth and compassion. From his petit bourgeois childhood, through his early efforts in the theater, and on to his great success and subsequent decline into lonely and cantankerous old age, Moliere’s career as playwright, producer, and actor is recounted by a master storyteller. We attend the birth of each new play, from the uproarious THE WOULD-BE GENTLEMAN and THE PRECIOUS LADIES RIDICULED, which poke fun at pretensions of the day, through the controversial TARTUFFE, which dared to challenge the religious mores of the time, to The Misanthrope, perhaps Moliere’s most profound play. Moliere’s dealings with French society, with his colleagues, and with Louis XIV are described with insight and grace. Most fascinating are his relationships with the two women he loved—the actress Madeleine Bejart and, in his later years, his wife, Armande, allegedly Madeleine’s younger sister, but according to some gossips, her illegitimate daughter by Moliere. Bulgakov’s scrupulous attention to factual material and his insistence on historical accuracy never bog down the story. His vivid recreation of detail and evocation of the atmosphere of seventeenth-century France make THE LIFE OF MONSIEUR DE MOLIERE read more like a novel than a biography. Superbly translated by Mirra Ginsburg, who succeeds in preserving every nuance of Bulgakov’s wry style, all the vitality and richness of his language, THE LIFE OF MONSIEUR DE MOLIERE is a work of the highest order, one that will give pleasure to readers for generations to come. MIKHAIL BULGAKOV, born in Kiev in 1891, was graduated from medical school, practiced medicine for a short while, and then abandoned it for writing. Choosing to remain in Russia after the Revolution, Bulgakov continually had difficulty with censorship and by 1930 was barred from publication or production. THE LIFE OF MONSIEUR DE MOLIERE, completed in 1933, was not published until 1962, twenty-two years after Bulgakov’s death. His monumental novel The Master and Margarita appeared in this country in 1967 and was hailed as a masterpiece. Other works available here are HEART OF A DOG, THE FATAL EGGS, and the play FLIGHT. MIRRA GINSBURG, born in Russia, translated THE FATAL EGGS AND OTHER SOVIET SATIRE, in which the title story is by Bulgakov, THE MASTER AND MARGARITA, as well as Bulgakov’s play Flight. Her translations of works by Is. Bookseller Inventory # 16751
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