France celebrates the 400th anniversary of Molière, the distinguished playwright of the nation

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France on Saturday kicked off a year of events to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Molière, the country’s most famous – and still popular – master of theater and 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 in the English-speaking world.

When the French refer to their mother tongue, it is “Molière’s language.”

Many celebrations will take place in the places that marked his life as an actor, company director and playwright, but above all in the Comedie-Française, established by King Louis XIV in 1680, seven years after Molière’s death.

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