Paris, Jean Ribou, 1669.
12mo [148 x 84 mm] of (2) ll., 155 pp. Red Jansenist morocco, spine ribbed, inner border, gilt over marbled edges, some wear to the spine. Binding signed Chambolle-Duru.
Precious first edition of this comedy by Moliere in three acts, first performed on July 18, 1668 in Versailles.
Tchemerzine, IV, 790 ; Lacroix, Bibliographie moliéresque, n°18.
“The privilege is dated September 30, 1668; there is no imprint”. (Tchemerzine, IV, 790).
“On July 18, 1668, Molière gave the first performance of ‘George Dandin’ at Versailles.
This comedy was part of the Grand Divertissement Royal which had been prepared to crown Louis XIV’s great diplomatic success after his victories in Franche-Comté with a series of sumptuous celebrations.
This comedy was a great success and its performance at the Palais Royal confirmed the very good impression it had left on the Court.
Moliere played in the play the role of the confounded husband, that is to say of the fooled husband, the peasant who had the misfortune to marry a light woman, from a quite different milieu. It is clear that Molière had wanted, in this comedy, whose background remains tragic, despite the comic repartees and situations, to depict by exaggerating them the misfortunes of his own household. The humiliations that he imposes on himself while unleashing the laughter by their deliberate excesses do not carry less the mark of his fears and his own sufferings.
It was on Friday, November 2, 1668 that the play was performed at St-Germain and on November 9 it was applauded at the Palais-Royal.
It is on the occasion of the representations of St-Germain that the king granted 3 000 livres to the troupe.”
(Guibert, I, pp. 283-284).
“Comedy in three acts and in prose that Moliere wrote at the request of Louis XIV so that it could be performed on the occasion of the festivities that were given in 1668, to celebrate the victory of France and the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. In fact, Molière simply transformed one of his country farces that his troupe performed from time to time at the Palais Royal: ‘La Jalousie du Barbouillé’ became ‘George Dandin ou le Mari confondu’. The play was much applauded in Versailles […] The last words of the unfortunate husband: ‘When one has married a nasty woman like me, the best thing one can do is to throw oneself head first into the water’, serve as a conclusion, in an almost tragic way, to a play where one has laughed at the expense of an unfortunate man, who is strictly in his right. (Dictionnaire des Œuvres, III, 245).
A precious copy of this first edition covered with an elegant red morocco binding by Chambolle-Duru.
From the Mortimer L. Schiff library.