Past Event

From Vice to Virtue: Molière's Comedic Mission

In a petition to King Louis XIV, Molière wrote, “The mission of comedy is to correct men’s vices.” Both a product and a daring critic of classical France, Molière developed a sophisticated and influential vision of the comic genre. This vision reinvented theatrical comedy through character-based satirical portraits of various aspects of 17th-century French society.

Charles Newell, Court Theatre’s artistic director, and Larry Norman, University of Chicago associate professor of Romance languages and literature, discuss Molière’s most important works and his infamous claims about the reformative powers of theater.

About the Participants

  • Charles Newell has been the artistic director of Court Theatre since 1994, where he has directed over thirty productions. He has also served on the board of Theatre Communications Group, as well as on several panels for the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been recognized by seven Joseph Jefferson Awards, including Best Production and Best Director.
  • Larry Norman is a professor in the Romance languages and literature department at the University of Chicago. With a focus on seventeenth and eighteenth French and European literature and theater across the ages, his books and edited collections include The Public Mirror: Molière and the Social Commerce of Depiction; Theatrical Baroque; and The Book in the Age of Theater: 1550-1750.

Accessible parking is available in the garage at 5500 S Ellis Ave, at the corner of 55th Street. On the weekends, parking is free for campus visitors.

This event is part of the Chicago Humanities Festival’s (CHF) annual fall festival. For more information, please visit the CHF’s website.