1732 Select Comedies of Moliere. 1st English and French edition. 17 engravings. Complete set.


The first collected works of Moliere in English and French (side-by-side within text). Also includes 17 engravings, with one accompanying each play. The plays include:

v1 The Miser
v1 The Cuckold in Conceit
v2 The Cit Turn'd Gentleman
v2 A Doctor and No Doctor
v3 The Blunderer, or The Counter-Plots
v3 The Conceited Ladies
v4 The School for Husbands
v4 The School for Wives
v5 The Impostor (Tartuffe)
v5 George Dandin
v6 The Man-Hater
v6 Squire Lubberly
v7 Amphitryon
v7 The Forc'd Marriage
v7 The Sicilian, or Love Makes a Painter
v8 The Hypochondriac
v8 The Impertinents

About the Literature -

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière (1622 – 1673), was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among Molière's best-known works are The Misanthrope, The School for Wives, Tartuffe, The Miser, The Imaginary Invalid, and The Bourgeois Gentleman.

Though he received the adulation of the court and Parisians, Molière's satires attracted criticism from moralists and the Catholic Church. Tartuffe and its attack on perceived religious hypocrisy roundly received condemnations from the Church, while Don Juan was banned from performance. Molière's hard work in so many theatrical capacities took its toll on his health and, by 1667, he was forced to take a break from the stage. In 1673, during a production of his final play, The Imaginary Invalid, Molière, who suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, was seized by a coughing fit and a hemorrhage while playing the hypochondriac Argan. He finished the performance but collapsed again and died a few hours later.

Provenance -

Several of the volumes contain the book plate of Duncan Davidson. Duncan Davidson was a lawyer/soldier/land owner in Scotland, and these books likely resided in his Tulloch Castle residence.

Physical Attributes -

Each measures 17 x 10 cm. Set is about 21 cm wide. 8 volumes (complete). Contemporary calf, with 5 raised spine ribs. Gilt decoration to spine compartments. "Moliere's Plays" and "(volume #)" gilt, in spine compartments, on Moroccan. 17 engravings. Text in French and English. Pages:

v1 - (1) xii, 215, 77, advertisement - 7, (1)
v2 - (1) vi, 239, 129, (1)
v3 - (1) vi, 89, advertisement - 7, (1)
v4 - (1) vi, 111, iv, 165, advertisement - 7, (1)
v5 - (1) vi, 177, iv, 123 (1)
v6 - (1) vi, 155, iv, 145, advertisement - 3, (1)
v7 - (1) vi, 167, iv, 75, iv, 63 (1)
v8 - (1) 215, xii, 89, advertisement - 5, (1)

Condition -

See pictures. Original calf bindings. Joints/hinges cracked, wear to edges, chipping at top and bottom of spines, shelf wear to boards, etc.. They are worn and have a pleasing air of antiquity. Bookplates on the pastedown, and bookseller notes on the endpapers (in pencil). Oiling of leather bindings (long ago) caused an impression of the turn-ins on the near front and rear papers.

Occasional yellow dots (light, not excessive). Occasional damp intrusion in top margin (not excessive). Occasional fold or dog-eared page. No annotations. A little toning to pages in places. Some notes in graphite at rear endpaper of v4. Ink spill, last 5 leaves of v.5 at top, can read text through black marks (wiped away). I don't find any tears. A portrait of Moliere might be missing from volume 1.

Despite wear, this is a handsome and complete set that gives a nice patina of age.

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