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» » Amphitryon


Molière,Richard Wilbur




Literature & Fiction

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Theatre Communications Group; Translation edition (June 1, 2010)




Dramas and Plays



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Amphitryon by Molière,Richard Wilbur

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“Richard Wilbur’s translations of classic French drama are among the undiscovered treasure of our recent literature.”–The Hudson Review

Molière’s late, elegant comedy, based on Plautus’ Roman version, alludes to the love affairs of the French king. This is the fourth and final volume of Theatre Communication Group’s series (with cover designs by Chip Kidd), completing trade publication of these vital theatrical works. ncludes Richard Wilbur’s translation notes.

Richard Wilbur is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and a former poet laureate of the United States. His verse translations of Molière’s plays have been performed for audiences throughout the world.

Wilbur faithfully reproduces some of Moliere's more experimental versification in this update of Plautus' Amphitruo, the story of Greek general who is impersonated by the god Jupiter-- so that Jupiter can share a bed with his wife! Moliere, a master of farce, plays this mistaken identity to its comic hilt.
Wilbur's translation here is peerless and his Afterword is wonderfully informative. This is not my favorite of his Moliere translations (I like The School for Wives and The Misanthrope) but I'd be hard-pressed to name a fault. Voltaire said of this play, "I laughed so hard that I fell over backwards." I didn't fall over backwards, but I got a good chuckle or two out if it.
This is an extremely funny, well written (& translated) play; Wilbur does a terrific job with the English verse, which makes the play read like an original--rather than a translation. Finding a well translated version of non-english written plays can often be difficult (especially with so many translations available), but this one is truly terrific.
This was the first play I had read by Moliere, and it wasn't at all what I was expected. It is a very light, easy and hilarious read. I laugh out loud each time I read it.

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