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Moliere (1622-1673), French playwright and actor. Born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, he took Moliere as a stage name. He began writing while an actor. Following patronage by a group of French aristocrats, he secured the favour of the king, Louis XIV. Moliere's works, many of which were masterpieces of comedy, included L'Ecole des femmes (1662), Tartuffe ou L'Imposteur, (1664), Le Misanthrope (1666), L'Avare (1668), Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (1670), and Le Malade imaginaire (1673). It was while acting in the latter, that he collapsed and died from the effects of pulmonary tuberculosis. This woodcut dates from 1880.
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