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Posted April 13, 2009
Molière wrote this play in 1662, and it remains one of the best comedies ever written about the foibles of a lifelong bachelor. Arnolphe is convinced that after 20 years of study, he has put together a series of maxims that will result in the perfect marriage. He thinks that if his wife-to-be follows them, he will never be subjected to his greatest fear (which is being cuckholded). Needless to say, the situation does not end as he foresees.
The translation is brilliant. Wilbur does much more than simply retain the sense of the play; he has written the translation in rhymes that capture much of the flow of the original French. Given the considerably different tonalities of the two languages, it is a delight to see how he does it.