Molière’s Critics, from Rousseau to Baudelaire: Ideology, Psychology, Aesthetics


  • Ioan Pop-Curșeu Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania


Molière, Rousseau, Baudelaire, Sainte-Beuve, Le Misanthrope, ideology, psichology, aesthetics


This paper deals with a number of interpretations that have been given to Molière’s work, namely that undertaken by Rousseau in his Lettre à d’Alembert sur les spectacles and those attempted by Baudelaire in fragmentary form in many of his writings. Rousseau’s and Baudelaire’s perspectives are ideologically divergent, but a closer reading reveals also psychological and aesthetic differences. The shifting perspectives between these authors are all the more surprising because Baudelaire was not only a critic of Molière but also a critic of Rousseau, yet he drew inspiration from the writings of both in his poems. The binary, linear hermeneutic is overcome here in favour of a triangular, or even plural, reading, as voices such as Sainte-Beuve’s or Nietzsche’s are occasionally summoned to diversify the possible points of view.

Author Biography

Ioan Pop-Curșeu, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

IOAN POP-CURŞEU (b. 4.02.1978, Ocna-Mureş) is, since 2020, Professor at the Faculty of Theatre and Film, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, where he taught for 15 years. He has defended his first PhD dissertation at the University of Geneva in 2007 (De l’homme hyperbolique au texte impossible: théâtralité, theatre(s), ébauches de pièces chez Baudelaire), and the second at the Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca in 2011 (Magic and Witchcraft in Romanian Culture). In 2015, he defended his habilitation dissertation at Babeş-Bolyai University and in 2016 he became a member of Academia Europaea, section: Film, Media and Visual Studies. His research interests are concerned with film aesthetics,
art criticism and image theory, nineteenth-century literature and culture, as well as anthropological aspects of magic and witchcraft. He wrote around 150 articles on various themes, writers, and films. His most important books are: Magie şi vrăjitorie în cultura română. Istorie, literatură, mentalităţi (2013), Iconografia vrăjitoriei în arta religioasă românească. Eseu de antropologie vizuală (2020, in  collaboration with Ștefana Pop-Curșeu), Etudes comparatives sur la sorcellerie. Anthropologie, cinéma, littérature, arts visuels (2021), Witchcraft in Romania (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022, in collaboration with Ștefana Pop-Curșeu), Dada se dă-n spectacol (2023, in collaboration with Ștefana Pop-Curșeu and Ion Pop). Link to an academic profile:



How to Cite

Pop-Curșeu, I. (2023). Molière’s Critics, from Rousseau to Baudelaire: Ideology, Psychology, Aesthetics. Studia Universitatis Babeș-Bolyai - Dramatica, 68(2), 9–33. Retrieved from