Henri van Laun’s translation of The Princess of El(l)is (La Princesse d’Élide), and other plays by Molière, are available from bookstores. The volumes are facsimile reprints. I will continue to read Mr. van Laun’s exceptional translations online, because I can copy quotations.
I should also explain that the Internet “boxes” that contain a photograph of me do not ask that I be rated, but that the play be rated. This may have been a Google initiative. The positive side is that attention is brought to Molière’s plays.
As you know, my posts are a reading of Molière’s plays. They provide insights on Molière, but I write as though I were teaching a course on Molière. A class is more informative and more general. It is the first step. Scholarly articles are more analytical and authors embed their article in the literature on the subject.
Using Internet Archives
I have used Internet Archives‘ publication of Mr. van Laun’s translations of Molière. Volumes appear in book form, which means that one can turn the pages. In order to copy a quotation, one scrolls down the page. There is a PDF version and other versions of the play. Using a PDF version does not cause the page to disappear.
So, we will carry on.
Here are a few words on our subject. In The Princess of E(l)lis, a princess does not want to marry. Her father invites three princes hoping she will change her mind. She falls in love with le prince d’Ithaque, but when the play ends, she has yet to accept marriage.
The princess loves le prince d‘Ithaque as much as he loathes marriage.
The play, a comédie galante, has interludes. In one interlude, Moron is attacked by a bear, but he is saved. This reminds us of the Amants magnifiques‘ boar. To a large extent, La Princesse d’Élide‘s interludes are an apology of love, but the Princess cannot face the reality of marriage. At the end of the sixth interlude, the third day of the divertissement royal, Les Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée, begins. The comedy galante is preceded by the first day of Les Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée, during which Tartuffe was also performed and condemned.
The Princess of Elis was not completed. It is une comédie inachevée. In fact, at the beginning of the play Molière uses verses, but, at one point, he says that he will henceforth use prose as demands are being made on him.
Love to everyone 💕
(I’m feeling very sick, but will do La Princesse d’Élide. I can’t believe that a translation of Molière’s plays made in the 19th century is probably the best translation of Molière into English to date, not to mention Mr. van Laun’s scholarship.)
© Micheline Walker
6 October 2019