It is a remarkable achievement to have opened up new perspectives on one of the most famously ambiguous, and most frequently commented works in the whole of French theatre. In this important new monograph, Julia Prest sets the five most intense years of the Tartuffe controversy — the period of its banning, from 1664 to 1669 — in the context of the varied interests competing for authority in society and, especially, for influence over the young king. The book situates Tartuffe, in its successive versions, as a point of convergence in the complex power struggles of the decade: between groups with radically different views of the kind of society that they hoped would develop, but, no less, between the mutually hostile factions within these...

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