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Les Femmes savantes,

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The first edition of the Femmes savantes.

The copy of C. de Cabanoux and John Pierpont Morgan, with ex-libris.


Molière, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin dit. Les Femmes Scavantes. Comédie.
Et se vend pour l’Autheur. A Paris, Au Palais & chez Pierre Promé, 1673. Avec privilège du roi.

12mo [152 x 88 mm] of (2) ll., 92 pp.

Red morocco, ribbed spine with blind-stamped fillets, gilt fillet on leading edges, inner gilt roll-stamp, gilt over marbled edges, a stain in the upper corner of the title leaf. Binding signed by Trautz-Bauzonnet.

First edition second issue of the last play to be published in Molière’s lifetime.

Tchemerzine, IV, 799 ; P. L. Jacob, p.12 ; Le Petit, p.309 ; A. J. Guibert, p.50.

This is the last play to be published in Molière’s lifetime; it came out a month before his death.

This edition was printed at his expense, under his watch, and in his spelling. He wrote “grédins” instead of “gredins”, “hales” instead of “halles”, “Hauteuil” instead of “Auteuil”… (Tchemerzine)

This five-act comedy in verse was performed for the first time on March 11th, 1672, at the théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris, not in Versailles.

It was very successful, and its popularity never wavered all through the play’s 215 performances during the reign of Louis XIV.

“Here the author adapts to a change in the mores of the time. Women’s ambitions had grown and the question of whether they should have access to knowledge was raised. The topic chosen by Molière is a risky one because preciosity and conceitedness are difficult traits to portray on a stage. A diligent observer of his society, Molière offers in his Femmes savantes some barely concealed portraits.”

Les Femmes savantes is one of Molière’s best plays. From a literary perspective, this play is almost perfect. Tradition claims that Boileau had read it and had made some modifications. It is nonetheless true that the Femmes savantes confirms Molière’s qualities as a writer and proves that he was, while writing this play, in full possession of his genius.” (A. J. Guibert)

A precious copy, with beautiful margins, and finely covered in a red morocco binding signed by Trautz-Bauzonnet.

Provenance : Libraries of C. de Cabanoux and John Pierpont Morgan, with ex-libris.

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