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The religious fraud Tartuffe has wormed his way into the affections and household of rich merchant, Orgon, with pantomime piety and counterfeit zeal. So comprehensively has he hoodwinked Orgon that he looks set to succeed in driving away the son, marrying the daughter, seducing the wife and imprisoning Orgon. Moliere's classic satire was deunced on its first performance as a sacrilegious outrage and banned from further public view. Only after petition to Louis XIV was the ban lifted, and the play's trenchant mockery of human frailties has ensured its popularity ever since.
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere (1622-73), the French actor-manager and dramatist, was one of the theatre's greatest comic classics. Inspired by traditions of French farce and the 'commedia dell'arte', he courted controversy with his satiric commentaries on the society of his time and on eternal human foibles, but was saved by the patronage of the 'Sun King' Louis XIV. Born in Manchester in 1959, Ranjit Bolt was educated at Perse School and at Balliol College, Oxford. He worked as an investment analyst and advisor for eight years, before concentrating on theatre translation from the end of 1990. Ranjit Bolt's acclaimed translations for the theatre, many of which are published by Oberon Books, include works by Moliere, Seneca, Sophocles, Corneille, Beaumarchais, Brecht, Goldoni and Zorilla.