023) Moliere's Tartuffe: Hypocrisy, Hedonism, Hilarity

"You see him as a saint. I'm far less awed; In fact, I see right through him. He's a fraud."

Thus, the saucy maid describes Tartuffe—consummate con man, hypocrite, and womanizer, whose chicanery throws the bourgeois household into chaos.

In this masterpiece of French classical theater, Molière brilliantly wraps his biting social commentary in a swirl of witty verse, outrageous characters, and delightful machinations. In this course, we'll laugh and wince simultaneously as we discover how familiar this 17th-century family seems today.

We’ll explore the play in its historical and social context, giving in-class performances of the work (in the acclaimed Richard Wilbur translation), and viewing a complete video recording of the play in French (La compagnie Colette Roumanoff, Paris, 2016).

For total beginners in French, an introduction to basic pronunciation and grammar will enhance appreciation of Molière’s clever versification; more advanced students will have the opportunity to act out excerpts of selected scenes in the original text, while others follow along with a bilingual (French-English) version of the play. There will be optional class trips to local and regional productions of Molière plays.

All required texts will be supplied by the instructor (cost included in the course fee). Recommended: Tartuffe and the Bourgeois Gentleman (Dual-Language-English and French Edition), Dover Publications (June 18, 1998), ISBN-10: 0486404382; Richard Wilbur, trans., Tartuffe (Harvest Books, January 10, 1992), ISBN-10: 9780156881807