L' Impromptu de Versailles



  • (The rehearsal at Versailles) Molière's secondreply, presented in October 1663, to the criticism levelled at hisL'Ecole des femmes, which had opened in Paris the previousyear (see The School for Wives). His first responseto the outcry against his play about raising girls to be perfect wives,La Critique de l'école des femmes, was staged in June1663.

    L'Impromptu de Versailles was also part of Molière'srunning literary battle with Edmé Boursault, the resident playwrightat the Hôtel de Bourgogne. Boursault had been offendedby a supposed caricature of himself in La Critique de l'Ecole desfemmes and had responded with an attack on Molière in LePortrait du peintre (1663). Molière's L'Impromptu deVersailles ridiculed both Boursault and the actors of the rivalHôtel de Bourgogne for their declamatory style of acting. Italso reveals much about Molière's own ideas about acting andhow he rehearsed his casts. The two dramatists later became friends.