The last thirty years have seen a renewed interest in the novels, plays, and essays of Marivaux. Each year more of his work is made available to the public in partial editions. More and better studies have appeared, superseding the old and, in the last thirty years, almost all of his plays have been performed. Today no corder of his work remains unexplored: our knowledge of his life, which had been until recently a tissue of fancy and anecdote, has been enhanced by the discovery of a few facts.
This critical study of the entire body of Marviaux's writings sets out to tell whether this attention represents a securely established place for Marivaux among the great French writers, or simply a vogue. It consists of a careful analysis of the individual works, in chronological order rather than in systematic groups, as is customary, showing the development of Marivaux's thinking, and the intimate relationship among the plays, novels, and essays of any given period. A history of the reception of the works, by scholars and critics from Marivaux's time to the present, presents succinctly the historical perspective through which the modern reader may understand the long indifference to Marivaux in France and his contemporary "discovery."
Professor Greene's work will be of great value to all students of the eighteenth century in France. Because of his lively interest in the theatre arts it will also be valuable for directors planning to produce the plays of Marivaux.