Marmontel and Demoustier, Le Misanthrope corrigé
Two Eighteenth-Century Sequels to Molière’s ‘Le Misanthrope’

Edited by Joseph Harris

Critical Texts 65

Modern Humanities Research Association

31 May 2019  •  146pp

ISBN: 978-1-781887-53-0 (paperback)  •  RRP £12.99, $17.99, €14.99

ISBN: 978-1-781887-54-7 (JSTOR ebook)

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EnlightenmentFrenchDrama


At the end of Molière’s masterpiece Le Misanthrope (1666), the irascible anti-hero Alceste storms off the stage, resolved to spend the rest of his life in a remote wilderness rather than to spend another moment mixing with corrupt Parisian society. Molière’s comedy is thus, in an important sense, unfinished, and various writers over the centuries, from Fabre d’Églantine in the eighteenth century to David Ives in the twenty-first, have written sequels – works that aim simultaneously to exploit the popularity of the original play, to resolve its narrative, and to lay to rest some of its more troubling implications about society.

This volume brings together two of the first sequels. As their titles imply, both Jean-François Marmontel’s ‘moral tale’ Le Misanthrope corrigé (1765) and its dramatic adaptation, Charles-Albert Demoustier’s three-act verse comedy Alceste à la campagne, ou le Misanthrope corrigé (c.1790), follow the gradual rehabilitation of Molière’s bad-tempered misanthrope. By tracing the two plays’ complex relationships to each other and to Molière’s original comedy, this critical edition situates them both in the context of Molière reception in the Enlightenment, and particularly in relation to Marmontel’s debates with Jean-Jacques Rousseau about the ethics and aesthetics of Molière’s original play.

Joseph Harris is reader in Early Modern Studies at Royal Holloway University of London.

Reviews:

  • ‘This volume is an important addition to the corpus of Molière reception in the Enlightenment. The arc of Le Misanthrope’s reception can be traced back to the play’s first appearance with critical responses such as Donneau de Visé’s Lettre écrite sur la comédie du Misanthrope; but this new comparative and elucidating edition of two eighteenth-century sequels will encourage scholars and students to encompass a wider range of texts in their reflections on Molière’s audiences and adaptors.’ — Suzanne Jones, H-France 20.54, April 2020
  • ‘Harris’s Introduction is essential reading. It provides a nuanced and fine-grained analysis of the two treatments, placing them into the context of the respective authors’ careers and the wider context of eighteenth-century ideas... the volume is a very welcome publication and is sure to be of great interest to a wide audience interested in Molière and his literary posterity.’ — Mark Darlow, Modern Language Review 115.4, October 2020, 917-18 (full text online)

Contents:

vii-viii
Acknowledgements
Joseph Harris
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1-42
Introduction: Alceste’s Afterlives
Joseph Harris
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43-67
Le Misanthrope Corrigé
Joseph Harris
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68-132
Alceste À La Campagne
Joseph Harris
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133-138
Bibliography
Joseph Harris
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Bibliography entry:

Harris, Joseph (ed.), Marmontel and Demoustier, Le Misanthrope corrigé: Two Eighteenth-Century Sequels to Molière’s ‘Le Misanthrope’, Critical Texts, 65 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2019)

First footnote reference: 35 Marmontel and Demoustier, Le Misanthrope corrigé: Two Eighteenth-Century Sequels to Molière’s ‘Le Misanthrope’, ed. by Joseph Harris, Critical Texts, 65 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2019), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Harris, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Harris, Joseph (ed.). 2019. Marmontel and Demoustier, Le Misanthrope corrigé: Two Eighteenth-Century Sequels to Molière’s ‘Le Misanthrope’, Critical Texts, 65 (Cambridge: MHRA)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Harris 2019: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Harris 2019: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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