“A mischievous new translation by the poet Richard Wilbur, [The Bungler] is great good fun and should open the gate for the play to be presented with the regularity it deserves.”—Bruce Weber, The New York Times
“My notion of translation is that you try to bring it back alive. Speak-ability is so important. . . . I came to see that a line that simply says ‘I love you,’ at the right point in the show, is entirely adequate, that a great deal of verbal sophistication is not necessarily called for.”—Richard Wilbur
Poet Richard Wilbur’s translations of Molière’s plays are loved, renowned, and performed throughout the world. This volume is part of Theater Communications Group’s new series (with cover designs by Chip Kidd) to complete trade publication of these vital works of French neoclassical comedy. The Bungler is Molière’s first recognizably great play, and the first to be written in verse. The charming farce is set in Sicily and born of the great Italian tradition of the commedia dell’arte: Loyal valet Mascarille schemes to win the lovely Celie away from rival Leadre, and into the arms of his master Leslie. Molière himself originated the role Mascarille, self-described as “the rashest fool on earth,” who naturally bungles the job along the way.
Richard Wilbur is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and a former Poet Laureate of the United States. His publications include six volumes of poetry and two collections of selected verses, a collection of prose, and two books for children.