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Controversy in French Drama

Molière’s Tartuffe and the Struggle for Influence

Authors: Prest, J.

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About this book

In 1664, Molière's Tartuffe was banned from public performance. This book provides a detailed, in-depth account of five-year struggle (1664-69) to have the ban lifted and, so doing, sheds important new light on 1660s France and the ancien régime more broadly.

About the authors

Julia Prest is Senior Lecturer in the Department of French at the University of St Andrews, UK.

Reviews

“In this important new monograph, Julia Prest sets the five most intense years of the Tartuffe controversy — the period of its banning, from 1664 to 1669 — in the context of the varied interests competing for authority in society and, especially, for influence over the young king. … Julia Prest’s attractively written monograph is now essential reading for understanding the text of the play itself, and the whole controversy that surrounded it.” (Richard Maber, Oxford University Press Journals – French Studies, Vol. 71, January, 2017) 

“Julia Prest’s Controversy in French Drama: Molière’s Tartuffe and the Struggle for Influence elucidates standard narratives of the 1664–69 Tartuffe controversy and adds new dimensions by examining a wide swath of primary and secondary sources. … Grounded in religious history and synthesizing French-language and English-language scholarship on Tartuffe, this book is sure to have a long shelf life. Prest provides crucial literary and historical context, clearly articulating the stakes of the Tartuffe debates.” (Daniel Smith, Comparative Drama, Vol. 50 (1), September, 2016)

"The Shape of [Prest's] argument is essentially chiastic, with the 'struggle for influence' of the first and last chapters encasing three central pieces which focus, relatedly, on the nature and meaning of true and false devotion in the period . . . The valuable insight which Prest affords is to bring out how, as a result, the presence of moral goodness is seen to lie most clearly outside, rather than within, the parameters of Christianity. The book adopts a clearly articulated line of argument and, in doing so, brings history, spirituality, and theatre into an enlightening synthesis." - Times Literary Supplement


"Elegantly written, thoroughly engaging, and highly accessible to non-specialists, Controversy in French Drama systematically uncovers the power of Molière's Tartuffe to scandalize and delight audiences, not only in its original historic context (so masterfully drawn here), but also through the centuries to today. It is essential reading for all those interested in Molière and French classical theatre and culture." - Larry F. Norman, Professor of French and Theatre and Performance, University of Chicago, USA, and author of Molière and the Social Commerce of Depiction and The Shock of the Ancient: Literature and History in Early Modern France
"Julia Prest presents a precisely detailed and subtly argued examination of the religious and political context of the 'querelle de Tartuffe'. Carefully considering the contemporary meaning of 'zealotry' and 'hypocrisy', she gives a fascinating account of the power-play between the young King and his religious advisors, together with rare insights into the secret workings of the Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement, thereby casting new light on the controversy surrounding this most popular of works." - Jan Clarke, Professor of French, Durham University, UK

"In a crystal-clear and vivid style, Julia Prest sheds new light on Molière's Tartuffe controversy (1664-1669). Re-reading Tartuffe alongside Bossuet's sermons and Louis XIV's memoirs, she enlightens the ferocious struggle that opposed religious and lay conceptions of the State in France and brilliantly re-examines the famous debate on hypocrisy. A highly stimulating historical and political evaluation of Molière's masterwork." - Gilles Declercq, Professor and Director of the Drama Research Center, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, France

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $29.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-34400-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $100.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-34399-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $39.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-349-46594-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Controversy in French Drama
Book Subtitle
Molière’s Tartuffe and the Struggle for Influence
Authors
Copyright
2014
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc.
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-34400-7
DOI
10.1057/9781137344007
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-34399-4
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-46594-1
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 247
Topics