Document Actions

You are here: FRIAS Events Humanities and Social … HUMSS - Joseph Harris

HUMSS - Joseph Harris

Harris_JosephDr. Joseph Harris
French and Comparative Literature
University of London

Sociable misanthropy and misanthropic sociability in seventeenth-century France and England
When Nov 04, 2019
from 11:15 AM to 12:30 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminarraum
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97407
Attendees universitätsoffen / open to university members
Add event to calendar vCal
iCal

Sociable misanthropy and misanthropic sociability in seventeenth-century France and England

 

This paper explores the presentation of misanthropy in Molière’s comedy Le Misanthrope and an early English adaptation, Wycherley’s The Plain Dealer, exploring how misanthropic attitudes invariably spill out beyond the confines of any single character, and indeed spread through the onstage social world of both plays. Strains of misanthropy are to be found even in figures like Molière’s urbane socialite Philinte, who proves far harsher and more pessimistic still than Alceste when he portrays people as effectively no more than savage vultures or wolves. In The Plain Dealer, Wycherley’s gruff sea captain Manly quickly exposes a similar misanthropy cunningly hidden under the affable social veneer of those he encounters. As these works suggest, indeed, a misanthropic perspective tends to regard society as itself made up, in turn, of quasi-misanthropes, all motivated by mutual hatred and mistrust.