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A Selection from the Comedies of Marivaux   By: (1688-1763)

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A SELECTION FROM THE COMEDIES OF MARIVAUX

EDITED WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES

BY EVERETT WARD OLMSTED

New York THE MACMILLAN COMPANY LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD. 1901 All rights reserved .

To Thomas Frederick Crane, A.M., Of Cornell University, Whose Profound Scholarship, Inspiring Teachings, And Lasting Friendship Are Here Gratefully Acknowledged.

PREFACE.

That so typical a representative of eighteenth century society, so gracious a personality, so charming a writer, and so superior a genius as Marivaux should be not only unedited, but practically unknown to the American reading public, is a matter of surprise. His brilliant comedies, written in an easy prose, and free from all impurities of thought or expression, offer peculiarly attractive texts for our classes. It is for these reasons that this edition was undertaken. The plays chosen, le Jeu de l'Amour et du Hasard , le Legs , and les Fausses Confidences are generally considered his best plays, and are fortunately free from dialect, which, in the mouths of certain characters of l'Épreuve and of la Mère confidente , charming as are these comedies, makes them undesirable for study in college or school. The text of les Fausses Confidences is that of 1758 (Paris, Duchesne, 5 vols.), the last collective edition published during the lifetime of the author, that of le Legs , from the edition of 1740 (Paris, Prault père, 4 vols.), while that of le Jeu de l'Amour et du Hasard , which is contained in neither the edition of 1758 nor in that of 1740, is from the first collective edition of his works of 1732 (Paris. Briasson, 2 vols.). It has not seemed wise to retain the curious orthography of these early editions, as the explanation of the same would uselessly burden the notes, and possibly confuse the student. An orthography following the same lines as that of the edition of les Grands Écrivains has been adopted.

The Introduction is rather extensive, but, as it serves in truth as an introduction to students in American schools of an author as yet little known, a less minute statement of his qualifications would hardly have been pardonable. Many quotations have been given, some from Marivaux himself, or from contemporary biographers, of so authoritative a nature as to add more weight than any summing up by the editor, and others from celebrated French critics, whose views, or whose picturesqueness of expression, have been often invaluable. In fact, the Introduction does not claim to be so much a literary essay as a compilation of authorities.

The notes to a text containing no historical, literary, or biographical allusions are naturally limited to explaining the difficulties of the French, and are less extensive than would otherwise be required.

Words and idioms, which, though unusual or difficult, can be found in any of the small dictionaries accessible to students, have been excluded from the notes as unnecessary, except such as might mislead unless explained, or such as differ from the modern use.

It remains for the editor to acknowledge his indebtedness for sympathetic interest and valuable suggestions to Gustave Larroumet, professor of French Literature at the University of Paris, and perpetual secretary of the Académie des Beaux Arts, to Professor Crane and Mr. Guerlac of Cornell University, and to Professor de Sumichrast of Harvard.

EVERETT WARD OLMSTED. CORNELL UNIVERSITY, ITHACA, N.Y., January 9, 1901.

CONTENTS.

INTRODUCTION

CHRONOLOGY

BIBLIOGRAPHY

LE JEU DE L'AMOUR ET DU HASARD

LE LEGS

LES FAUSSES CONFIDENCES

NOTES

INTRODUCTION

Among the treasures of the Comédie Française, interesting alike to students of letters and of art, is a painting by Vanloo. It bears the date of 1753, and represents a man of doubtful age for it is hard to tell whether he is past his prime or not yet, if the truth were known, one could not write him down for less than sixty five... Continue reading book >>




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