French scientists disproved the assumption that Moliere did not write himself a famous playwright, and one of his contemporaries. Using stylometrics analyze French plays of the seventeenth century, they showed that magerovskii works like no other whose — either on stylistic or poetic characteristics, nor on the use of grammatical means. In an article published in Science, scientists say that plays, signed with the name of Moliere, was actually created them.
For the first time the authorship of the plays malerovskih questioned relatively long time — 100 years ago. Then the French poet and writer-modernist Pierre-Louis (Pierre Louys) suggestedthat the plays of molière wrote another famous French dramatist of that time Pierre Corneille, possibly in collaboration with his brother Tom.
Louis believed that Corneille and his brother (and perhaps other authors of the XVII century) could serve as the first “literary Negroes”, creating full pieces on the basis of invented dramatic stories. This, according to Louis, to a certain extent allows to speak about the authorship of Moliere, but does not give the exact answer to the question of whether in fact he wrote his Comedy from beginning to end.
In addition, other researchers have notedthat in the French theatre of the seventeenth century the authorship of the plays (whoever really wrote) it was decided to attribute the names of the actors from among the “stars”, that is, the most recognizable faces on stage, and molière was the leading comic actor and Director of his own troupe, which staged his plays. The question of authorship malerovskih pieces are further complicated by the lack of authentic manuscripts.
Florian Cafiero (Cafiero Florian) from the University Paris Diderot and Jean-Baptiste Kams (Jean-Baptiste Camps) of the National school of charters has decided to determine the authorship malerovskih plays through statistical analysis of the text of stylometry.
This method (assuming sufficient material) allows to statistically isolate the individual common elements of a text, which can then be attributed to specific authors and compare them with each other. In fact, this method is some cases really define the style of an author, so his hand is recognizable in various texts.
The Cafiero and Kams used the case of plays of different genres written by French authors in the XVII century, — there, in particular, includes works of molière and Corneille brothers, but only in the case contains 12 pieces authors a minimum of five thousand words each.
As the primary method of analysis the researchers chose hierarchical clusteringto subdivide the objects into separate groups based on their proximity to each other.
Their case, the scientists examined different parameters. They studied the vocabulary of the plays (the frequency of use of certain lemmas) as a whole, and within the framework of the rhyming line endings; considered the use of different parts of speech separately and in their sequence; explored the use of utility words; finally, the texts were analyzed through dividing them into n-grams — sequences of n elements.
The play was described as all over the body as a whole, and within the genre of Comedy, which include works of Moliere. It turned out that in fact, and in another case it works cluster together and do not include the work of other authors, including the brothers Corneille.
This means that Moliere not only invented the stories for his plays (from the point of view of this component they stand out from all other works of different genres), but also wrote them (they can be isolated and in the context of Comedy).
The efficiency of their analysis, the authors emphasize the individual facts. So, play with the same title “Mother-yoke”, which the same year was published Philip Movie and Jean Bottom de Visa, cluster together — and they really are similar, and de Visa even called himself the author of this work.
In addition, cluster and some works of the Corneille brothers, especially those for which it is known that they were completely created in collaboration, or have invented their stories.
However, most serious researchers of the history of French theatre and French literature, and so I never put the authorship of Moliere questioned. His biography, including he received in his youth a solid classical education in the College of Clermont, his path to a theatrical career and his development as a playwright has been well researched and described both in special and popular literature.
In his youth, Moliere (it was a stage name; real name is Jean-Baptiste Poklen, 1622-1673), really inspired by that revolution which has made the French scene of the early tragedies of Pierre Corneille, was fond of theatre and even opened his own “Brilliant theatre,” but this is a tragic actor and theatrical entrepreneur is inexperienced, so quickly went bankrupt (1645).
After that Moliere with the remnants of the troupe retired to the province, where he switched to a much more low, according to the ideas of the time, the repertoire is an unpretentious and rude farces, plays in the spirit of Italian Commedia Dell’arte. It was during these wanderings that lasted 11 years, Moliere revealed himself as a brilliant comic actor and began to compose himself.
His return to Paris was connected with the search for influential patrons. He was able to speak to the young Louis XIV (1658), and he conquered the king of farce of his own composition. Subsequently Moliere as the author put himself adopted in Paris tastes and made a splash with the originality of his talent.
In the middle of the 1660-ies of Moliere was made by the Creator of “high Comedy” (“the Miser”, “Tartuffe”, “don Giovanni”, “the Misanthrope”, and others) was based on a new concept of the modern character. At this time Moliere was desperately competing with other theater companies and playwrights.
Although molière enjoyed the patronage of the king, his plays had made him many influential enemies, including the court and religious circles. This situation is completely eliminates the assumption that in this case, for Moliere who lived such a strenuous life, and was at the centre of many theatrical and literary connections and conflicts, wrote someone else.
In particular, in 1660-ies of Pierre Corneille, the Creator of French classical tragedy, and the famous playwright and poet, was the status of a living classic; to imagine that he was the “ghostwriter” for Moliere, it is impossible.
After the death of molière, the famous French poet, critic and member of the French Academy, Nicolas Boileau, in his treatise “Poetic art” (1674) put his talent in creating Comedy almost on a par with the talent of Roman playwright Terence’s comedies — for the time it was the highest praise (in the same treatise Boileau separately lifted and the tragic genius of Corneille).
Neither his contemporaries nor subsequent generations never questioned the authorship of Moliere. The assumption is that Moliere could write someone else, arose only in the twentieth century — in an entirely different attitude to the questions of authorship that have changed under the influence of the romantic era, and another example of such a dispute about authorship, the center of which is as undeserved was the English playwright William Shakespeare.
Today the authorship of Shakespeare is also regularly audited by computer methods. About what modern scholars think about the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays, you can read in the interview “So was the Bard?”, and more details about Shakespeare’s works you can find in our blog “the Past is prologue”.