Calder, Andrew 1942-

views updated

CALDER, Andrew 1942-

PERSONAL: Born 1942.

ADDRESSES: Home—London, England. Office—University College London, Room 227, Wilkins Bldg., Gower St., London WC1E 6BT, England. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Librairie Droz S. A., 11 rue Firmin Massot, P.O. Box 389, 1211 Geneva 12, Switzerland. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: University College London, London, England, reader in French.


Molière: The Theory and Practice of Comedy, Athlone Press (Atlantic Highlands, NJ), 1993.

The Fables of La Fontaine: Wisdom Brought down to Earth, Droz (Geneva, Switzerland), 2001.

Contributor to periodicals, including Seventeenth-Century French Studies and Le nouveau Molièriste; and also to books, including French Classical Theatre Today: Teaching, Research, Performance, Rodopi (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), 2001, and Culture and Conflict in Seventeenth-Century France and Ireland, edited by S. A. Stacey and V. Desnain, Four Courts Press (Dublin, Ireland), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS: Andrew Calder is an instructor in French studies and the author of volumes that include Molière: The Theory and Practice of Comedy. "Written with enthusiasm as well as erudition and offering both information and insights, this is a study which presents Molière in a serious light," noted Christopher Smith in the Journal of European Studies. He continued, "That does not mean Calder fails to see and appreciate the funny side; far from it."

P. Koch noted in a Choice review that Molière drew on the Classical, Renaissance, and contemporary theories, or opinions, that were available to late seventeenth-century writers, and he practiced, or used, these opinions in writing his comedies. Koch noted, "written with erudition, enthusiasm, and affection, this study serves to introduce the uninitiated reader to the Molièresque world."

As Ian Maclean wrote in French Studies, Calder points out that Molière was "a composer of comedies in the tradition of Roman Comedy." In his study the author "surveys in turn character, plot and action, the nature of the comic, and a series of themes—honnêteté, judgement, family, pedants, doctors, and preciosity," the critic added, concluding that Molière "is very well written: articulate, well-paced, measured in its judgement."

In The Fables of La Fontaine: Wisdom Brought down to Earth Calder studies Jean de La Fontaine (1621–1695), the French writer known for his twelve volumes of Fables, published between 1668 and 1694. Like Aesop and others, La Fontaine portrayed human behavior through animal characters, but in his case, many of the stories are far more shocking. La Fontaine was well born but wasted most of his time and resources. Fouquet was his patron, as were a number of wealthy women. In addition to his fables, he wrote bawdy tales and Christian poetry.

David Coward wrote in the London Review of Books that "Calder's La Fontaine is a Socratic ironist who dispenses wisdom by inviting his readers to smile at unreason. He inverts the Homeric perspective as an antidote to the magnification of courage and sacrifice, which are occasional virtues: frogs and flies are more suitable metaphors for the human condition than heroes."



Choice, June, 1993, P. Koch, review of Molière: The Theory and Practice of Comedy, p. 1631.

French Studies, July, 1994, Ian Maclean, review of Molière, pp. 326-327.

Journal of European Studies, March, 1994, Christopher Smith, review of Molière, p. 55.

London Review of Books, February 7, 2002, David Coward, review of The Fables of La Fontaine: Wisdom Brought down to Earth, pp. 31-33.

Modern Language Review, January, 1995, Noel A. Peacock, review of Molière, pp. 188-189.


University College of London Web site, (March 10, 2005), "Andrew Calder."

About this article

Calder, Andrew 1942-

Updated About content Print Article