Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Life of Monsieur de Moliere - post II

What you have to admire about Bulgakov and his treatment of this biography is the light touch. He manages to get from birth to 30 in as many pages but chooses the facts to concentrate on very carefully.

It is perhaps a consequence of the fact that Moliere himself did not appear until he left home and turned his back on his father’s world of being court upholsterer. The young actor headed out into the highways and byways of France determined to make his name with his troop.

The moment of truth came after his attempts to play tragedies were disastrous so he switched to comedies, which he started to write himself. That was the key, the decision not just to write but to act to his strengths, and it started to turn his fortunes around.

The other stylistic touch that you appreciate from Bulgakov is the way he throws in all the information he has at hand without making it stodgy. In that respect it reminds you of the Shakespeare biography produced a couple of years ago by Bill Bryson.

More soon…

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