Happy 400th Birthday to the genius of comedy Molière - baptized on 15 Jan 1622.
He had a great career while he was alive, mostly, with the support of Louis XIV he avoided serious trouble with the Church, but his importance really took off after 1870 because the French gov't re-did the school system in the wake of the defeat by the Germans, and schools now held him up as the pride of French creative culture. Seeking to restore the glory of France, the leaders of the Third Republic looked to that most French of periods, the age of Louis XIV, and to its most accessible (and entertaining) author, Molière. His theatre was thus proposed as a representation of traditional bourgeois values; at its heart, however, it espoused just the opposite. Nonetheless, the mandating of Molière’s comedies as a core part of the national curriculum served to elevate his status to that of the national symbol of French identity for generations of students.
Molière, who said, "All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing."