1622 (Paris) – 1673 (Paris)

Often regarded as second only to Shakespeare, Molière remains one of the greats of European literature, known particularly for a series of comedies that puncture bourgeois pretension. He collaborated several times with Lully (eventually falling out), with Charpentier, and with his longstanding colleague Corneille. Molière, his close contemporary La Fontaine, and the younger Boileau (both friend and supporter) and Racine, were celebrated as the so-called Quartet of the rue du Vieux Colombier. Having premiered Racine’s first play, Molière’s relations with him went disastrously wrong. He died following an onstage haemorrhage while playing the hypochondriac in his own Le Malade imaginaire.

Molière knew…