Molière’s contribution to the history of literature and of theatre will be remembered through works acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian, which include – amongst others – a copy of the first illustrated edition of Les Œuvres de Monsieur Molière (1682).
Through the illustrations – drawings and engravings – Molière’s characters come to life, in an attempt to establish an intimate relationship between his mastery of the word and its dramatic expression, allowing him to tackle themes which shift between comedy and obsession, licentiousness and seduction, jesting and social analysis, and the ridiculous and mediocrity.
The true contemporaneity of Molière’s work lies in his fierce criticism of customs, essentially the observation of society, through a realism that uses comedy and satire as key expressive genres.
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