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The Characters of Theophrastus

Theophrastus


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite


The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky


The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison


A selection from the comedies of Marivaux

by Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux

Excerpt:

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 rAmour 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'Epreuve and of la Mire confidente, charming as are these comédies, 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 VAmour 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.

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. The face is life-like and attractive, full of an expression of gentle breeding, kindliness, wit, and subtlety. The eyes are rather dark, large, fine, and keen; with the thin lips, pursed in a half-smile, they form the most striking features of the countenance, and serve to give it that characteristic of finesse so peculiar to the man. The welldeveloped brow, the full cheeks, and faint suggestion of a double chin, the powdered hair, the black silk coat, the lace jabot, are all in keeping with our conception of this French dramatist, whom a competent critic 1 of to-day has classed as greater than any of his contemporaries in the same field, than Beaumarchais, Voltaire, Regnard, Le Sage, and second only to Molière, Corneille, and Racine. Marivaux, whose rehabilitation has come but slowly, and in spite of many critics, occupies a place to-day, not only with the ultra-refined, but in the hearts of the theatre-going public, which, I doubt not, even the most enthusiastic admirers among his contemporaries would not have dared to hope for him; for, next to Molière, no author of comedies appears so often upon the stage of the


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