France began a year of events on Saturday to mark the 400th birthday of Molière, the most illustrious – and still popular – master of the stage and of satire.
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Baptized on January 15, 1622 and probably born a day or two earlier, Molière – real name Jean-Baptiste Poquelin – remains as central to French culture as Shakespeare is to the English-speaking world.
When the French refer to their mother tongue, it is like the “language of Molière”.
Many celebrations will take place in places that have marked his life as an actor, company director and playwright, but especially at the Comédie-Française, created by King Louis XIV in 1680, seven years after the death of Molière.