Read Along,  Show Notes

Episode 221: “Tartuffe” by Moliere, Introduction and Acts 1 & 2

This week on The Literary Life Podcast, Angelina Stanford and Thomas Banks delve into a new literary series as we read the comedic play Tartuffe by Jean-Baptiste Moliere. If you want to listen in to the read along of this play, you can view replays on the readings on the House of Humane Letters YouTube channel. Thomas begins the conversation on this play by setting up the cultural and literary context in which Moliere was working, as well as some more biographical background on the author and actor himself. Angelina points out some differences between satire and didacticism. She and Thomas also talk about the influence of Roman comedy in Moliere’s playwriting.

Angelina introduces Act 1 with a question of how Moliere shows the audience what to think of Tartuffe before the character himself ever comes on stage. Thomas talks a little about the characters we first meet, and Angelina highlights the references to enchantments as they read through key portions of these opening scenes. Join us again next week when we will finish up this entertaining play!

If you weren’t able to join us for the sixth annual Literary Life Online Conference, “Dispelling the Myth of Modernity: A Recovery of the Medieval Imagination“, you can still purchase the recordings and find out what you missed! Also, don’t miss the launch the HHL publishing wing, Cassiodorus Press! Sign up for the newsletter at to stay in the know about all the exciting new things we have coming up!

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Commonplace Quotes:

He had the comic vision of himself as well as of the rest of humanity. He might mock the vices of the world, but he could also mock himself for hating the world, in the spirit of a superior person, on account of its vices.

Robert Lynn, from his essay “Moliere” in Books and Authors

We think old books are strange; but we are the aliens.

Dr. Jason Baxter

The Burial of Moliere

By Andrew Lang

Dead–he is dead!  The rouge has left a trace
  On that thin cheek where shone, perchance, a tear,
  Even while the people laughed that held him dear
But yesterday.  He died,–and not in grace,
And many a black-robed caitiff starts apace
  To slander him whose Tartuffe made them fear,
  And gold must win a passage for his bier,
And bribe the crowd that guards his resting-place.

Ah, Moliere, for that last time of all,
  Man’s hatred broke upon thee, and went by,
And did but make more fair thy funeral.
  Though in the dark they hid thee stealthily,
Thy coffin had the cope of night for pall,
  For torch, the stars along the windy sky!

Book List:

Menaechmi, or The Twin-Brothers by Plautus

Code of the Woosters by P. G. Wodehouse

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