Comedy in Context: Essays on Moliere by H. Gaston Hall This book brings together a dozen essays devoted to the aspects of Moliere's stagecraft, each of which illustrates in its way Hall's thesis of comedy in context. It is only in the later generations that some knowledge of Moliere has become a part of French popular culture through universal education, for in his own time Moliere's art did not reach the vast majority even of Frenchmen. This volume of essays thus complements other studies of the comedies by focusing attention for an even larger audience upon the plays as Hall believes the playwright conceived them. The first seven essays consider questions and themes common to a number of Moliere's plays, and the last five deal with individual comedies in the order in which they were originally published: L'Ecole des femmes, Tartuffe, Dom Juan, and Le Misanthrope. All the essays convey the author's conviction that Moliere was a writer of comedies which can be properly understood only in the historical and literary context in which they were imagined, written, performed, and published. For Hall, the historical context of the comedies is clearly a reflection of Moliere's activities as an actor-manager of his own company as well as a reflection of the social conditions of seventeenth-century France. In addition, Hall shows the rich literary context of the plays by discussing resources of literary works and of authors that provided subjects for Moliere. Through a close analysis of the texts, Hall establishes historical and literary bases for the plays and gives them new dimension and meaning. H. Gaston Hall, a distinguished Moliere scholar, translator, and author of many learned works in French, Spanish, and Italian, is a reader in French at the University of Warwick in England.