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Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑ̃ batist pɔklɛ̃], [pɔkəlɛ̃]; 15 January 1622 (baptised) – 17 February 1673), known by his stage name Molière (UK: , US: , French: [mɔljɛʁ]), was a French playwright, actor, and poet, widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the French language and world literature. His extant works include comedies, farces, tragicomedies, comédie-ballets, and more. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed at the Comédie-Française more often than those of any other playwright today. His influence is such that the French language is often referred to as the "language of Molière".

Born into a prosperous family and having studied at the Collège de Clermont (now Lycée Louis-le-Grand), Molière was well suited to begin a life in the theatre. Thirteen years as an itinerant actor helped him polish his comedic abilities while he began writing, combining Commedia dell'arte elements with the more refined French comedy.

Through the patronage of aristocrats including Philippe I, Duke of Orléans—the brother of Louis XIV—Molière procured a command performance before the King at the Louvre. Performing a classic play by Pierre Corneille and a farce of his own, The Doctor in Love, Molière was granted the use of salle du Petit-Bourbon near the Louvre, a spacious room appointed for theatrical performances. Later, he was granted the use of the theatre in the Palais-Royal. In both locations, Molière found success among Parisians with plays such as The Affected Ladies, The School for Husbands, and The School for Wives. This royal favour brought a royal pension to his troupe and the title Troupe du Roi ("The King's Troupe"). Molière continued as the official author of court entertainments.

Despite the adulation of the court and Parisians, Molière's satires attracted criticism from other circles. For Tartuffe's impiety, the Catholic Church in France denounced this study of religious hypocrisy, which was followed by a ban by the Parlement, while Dom Juan was withdrawn and never restaged by Molière. His hard work in so many theatrical capacities took its toll on his health and, by 1667, he was forced to take a break from the stage. In 1673, during a production of his final play, The Imaginary Invalid, Molière, who suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, was seized by a coughing fit and a haemorrhage while playing the hypochondriac Argan; he finished the performance but collapsed again and died a few hours later.

Birth and Death Data: Born January 1, 1622 (Paris), Died February 16, 1673 (Paris)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1928 - 1938

Roles Represented in DAHR: author

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor MS-031117 16-in. 12/18/1938 Le bourgeois gentilhomme Richard Gordon ; Junius Matthews Re-recording : Radio broadcast author  
Victor MS-031118 16-in. 12/18/1938 Le bourgeois gentilhomme Unidentified radio performer(s) Re-recording : Radio broadcast author  
Victor MS-031119 16-in. 12/18/1938 Le bourgeois gentilhomme Unidentified radio performer(s) Re-recording : Radio broadcast author  
Victor MS-031120 16-in. 12/18/1938 Le bourgeois gentilhomme Unidentified radio performer(s) Re-recording : Radio broadcast author  
Gramophone BB14069 10-in. 7/11/1928 L'avere E. M. Stéphan Recitation author  
Columbia (U.K.) WLX901 12-in. 3/8/1929 Couplets: "Qu'ils sont doux" Élie Cohen ; Lucien Fugère Male vocal solo, with piano author  
Columbia (U.K.) WL1874 10-in. 11/8/1929 Scène de l'impromtu André Brunot Recitation author  
Columbia (U.K.) CL4206 10-in. 3/4/1933 Messieurs je vois conjure de déterminer mon esprit Louis Jouvet Dramatic scene author  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Molière," accessed April 19, 2024,

Molière. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from

"Molière." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 19 April 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier


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