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The Public Mirror : Moliere and the Social Commerce of Depiction - Larry F. Norman

The Public Mirror

Moliere and the Social Commerce of Depiction

Paperback Published: 1st January 1999
ISBN: 9780226591520
Number Of Pages: 216

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Though much beloved and widely produced, Molière's satirical comedies pose a problem for those reading or staging his works today: how can a genre associated with biting caricature and castigation deliver engaging theater? Instead of simply dismissing social satire as a foundation for Molière's theater, as many have done, Larry F. Norman takes seriously Molière's claim that his satires are first and foremost effective theater.

Pairing close readings of Molière's comedies with insightful accounts of French social history and aesthetics, Norman shows how Molière conceived of satire as a "public mirror" provoking dynamic exchange and conflict with audience members obsessed with their own images. Drawing on these tensions, Molière portrays characters satirizing one another on stage, with their reactions providing dramatic conflict and propelling comic dialogue. By laying bare his society's system of imagining itself, Molière's satires both enthralled and enraged his original audience and provide us with a crucial key to the classical culture of representation.


Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
Creationp. 11
Uranie and the "General Thesis"p. 13
"Moliere Author!"p. 26
The Portrait--a Second Personp. 35
The Social Commerce of Representationp. 46
Playwrighting and Politenessp. 61
Moliere the Spy and Zelindep. 70
Recognitionp. 83
Precious Recognitionsp. 89
Illusion and Reflexivityp. 100
The Second Comedyp. 113
The Represented Respondp. 122
Dramaturgyp. 145
From Arnolphe to Alcestep. 147
Satire and Dramatic Formp. 157
Is Celimene Moliere? Is La Fleche?p. 169
Staging Social Commercep. 191
Conclusionp. 207
Selected Bibliographyp. 211
Indexp. 223
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780226591520
ISBN-10: 0226591522
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 216
Published: 1st January 1999
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.23 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.34
Edition Number: 2