"In this biography I have striven specially for three things: -- first, to set forth the facts of Moliere's life, stripped of all the legends which compass it about; second, to trace his development as a dramatist, making it plain how cautiously he advanced in his art and how slowly he reached the full expansion of his power; and thirdly, to show his intimate relation to the time in which he lived, the glittering beginning of the reign of Louis XIV. I have endeavored always to center attention on Moliere himself, the melancholy humorist who was companionable and friendly, and whose career was cut short before his genius had completely revealed itself. In one important particular this biography differs from most of the more recent attempts to consider Moliere's life. I have sought to establish it solidly on the admitted facts, and I have therefore resolutely refrained from utilizing two notorious libels, one on Moliere and the other on his widow, "Elomire Hypocondre" and the "Fameuse Comedienne." Holding these abusive pamphlets to be wholly beneath credence, I have borrowed no hints and I have drawn no inferences from either of them." At the time of original publication, Brander Matthews was Professor of Dramatic Literature in Columbia University, and a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.