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MOLINA


435


MOLINA


verisimilitude — or, as his friend La Fontaine expressed it, carefulness "not to go one step away from nature" — is found in all Moliere's works. It is particularly visible in his style. Good critics, it is true, have found fault with Moliere's style, particularly in his verse; Boileau, Fenelon, and La Bruyere did so in the seventeenth century; Vauvenargues, in the eigh- teenth; Theophile Gautier and others, in the nine- teenth. On the other hand, a whole school has arisen in the last fifty years to extol this writer: for the Molierists, as they have been called, Moliere is above all criticism; they preach a sort of cultus of Moliere. To be more judicious, we must be more moderate. Admitting that the language of comedy, which is that of familiar conversation, permits him certain liberties, which he cannot be fairly blamed for using, still, making all due allowance for the nature of his medium, there is no denying that his style suffers from real carelessness — useless repetitions, incoherent met- aphors, heavy and entangled phrases. Moliere was obliged to write quickly; he was an improviser, but a genius of improvisation. For his style, in spite of its faults, is still, as Boileau said to Louis XIV, a "rare" style. Frank and natural, he e.xcels in making reason and good sense talk. It is the style of a poet, too — warm, highly coloured, brilliant. Lastly, one finds in him striking words and striking touches, which come spontaneously, and add to his charm.

As for morality, it owes Moliere much less than literature does. Although he gave out, in his pref- aces, that it was his wish and duty as a dramatic poet, to be of service to morality, he has been severely censured in this regard, from Bossuet to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. While he never put on the stage — as is so often done in these days — a woman guilty of violating her marriage vows, or about to violate them, yet he has been reproached with the presentation of other dangerous pictures. Furthermore, he is always on the side of the young people, who surely need no en- couragement in their evil propensities. All his ser- mons, all his satires, are for parents; all the unpleasant failings depicted by his comedies reside in the fathers and the old people; the laugh is always at their ex- pense, except when their egoism excites horror. It must be confessed that, while the passions of the young king, Louis XIV, had only too much reason to be pleased with the author of "Amphitryon", religion had no cause to approve the author of "Tar- tufe". Moliere's Christianity was not as profound as that of Corneille, Racine, Boileau, and nearly all the illustrious writers of his time. And yet, when there was question of his being given Christian burial, and the cure hesitated, on the ground that the priest had arrived too la*e to give absolution to the come- dian, who, it may almo.st be said, passed from the stage to the tribunal of God, his widow proved that he had received the sacraments in the last previous paschal season.

See the edition of Molidre by Despois and Mesnahd in the follection ties ora/ids ecrivains (Paris, 1873-1900), also an Eng- lish translation of his works with French text by Waller, 8 vols. (London, 1902-7). and English version with memoir by Wall in Bohn's Library (3 vols., London. 1876-77); Lacboix, Bibliog. moliiresque (Paris, 187.5); Veuillot, Moliire et Bourdaloue (Paris, 1877); LoNGHAYE. Hial.de laliU.Jranf.au XVII' siicle (Pans): Clahetie, Moliire and Shakespeare in Fortnightly Review. LVII (London, 1900). 317; Matthews, Moliere (New York, 1910).

Georges Berthin.

Molina, Alonso de, Franciscan friar, b. prob- ably 1511 or 1512, at Escalona, province of Toledo, Spain; d. 1584, in the city of Mexico. In 1523 his parents came to New Spain, where he learned the Na- huatl, or Mexican language. The first twelve Fran- ciscan missionaries who arrived in 1524, seeing how thoroughly versed he was in the language of the na- tives, begged Cortes to use his influence with the child's mother that he might be allowed to help them in their preaching and catechizing. The mother readily consented, and young Alonso became so at-


tached to the fathers that he never left them. When he reached the required age he joined the Francis- can order, and for fifty years was indefatigable in his work among the Indians, devoting also some time to the numerous works which he left. In order to allow him to follow uninterruptedly his chosen work, his superiors relieved him of all cares of ofhco, although there is record of his having been superior of the con- vent of Texcoco, in 1555. Although no great ac- tions mark the life of Molina, he is nevertheless re- markable for his untiring zeal, and for the wonderful constancy with which, for half a century, he contin- ued his work, resisting its monotony, overcoming all hardships and the opposition he often encountered. He left numerous works, the following unpublished: "Traduction mexicana de las Epistolas y Evangelios de todo el ano"; "Horas de Ntra. Sra. en mexicano"; many prayers and devotions for the Indians; "De Contemptu Mundi"; also a treatise on the sacra- ments. The following have been published; "Doc- trina breve mexicana" (1571); "Vocabulario caste- llano mexicano" (1555); " Confesonario menor" (1565); "Confesonario mayor" (1.565); "Doctrina Cristiana" (1578); "Arte mexicano" (1571); and "Vocabulario castellano mexicano y mexicano caste- llano" (1571, reprinted, Leipzig, 1880), the most im- portant of his works.

Dice, mdclopedico hispano-americano. III (Barcelona, 1893); Vetancurt, Menologio franciseano (Mexico, 1871); Mouna, Vocabulario de la lengua castcUana mexicana (Mexico, 1.571); Simeon, Dinionnaire de la langue Nahuatl (Paris, 1885); Obras de D. J. Garcia Icazbalceta (Mexico, 1896). IIL

Camillus Crivelli.

Molina, Antonio de, a Spanish Carthusian and celebrated ascetical writer, b. about 1560, at Villa- nueva de los Infantes; d. at Mirafiores, 21 September, 1612 or 1619. In 1575 he entered the Order of Augus- tinian Hermits, was elected superior at one of their houses in Spain, and for some time taught theology. But wishing to join an order of stricter discipline, he became a Carthusian at Mirafiores, where he died prior of the monastery. He wrote in Spanish a few ascetical works, especially adapted for priests, which became the most popular books of their kind in Spain, and were translated into various foreign languages. The most famous of these is a manual for priests and bears the title: "Instruceion de Saccrdotes, en que se A&. doctrina muy importante para conocer la altcza del sagrado oficio Sacerdotal, y para exercitarle debi- damente". Twenty editions of this work are known to have been published, among them a Latin transla- tion by the Belgian Dominican Nicolas Janssen Boy, which received five editions (Antwerp, 1618, 1644; Cologne, 1626, 1711, and 1712), and an Italian transla^ tion (Turin, 1865). It was severely attacked by the Jansenist Antoine Amauld (De la froquente Commu- nion, 1643) but ably defended against him by Petavius ("Dogmata theologica, De Pocnitentia", lib. Ill, cap.vi;newed., Paris, 186.5-7, VIII, 286-8). Heisalso the author of two ascetical works adapted for laymen. The one, "Exercicios espirituales para personas ocu- padas de co.sas de su salvacion", was published at Burgos in 1613; the other, "Exercicios espirituales de la excelencias, provecho y neeesidad de la oracion mental", etc., was first published at Burgos in 1615, and was translated into Latin. , r , e

Antonio. Bibliotheca hispana nova (Madrid, 1783-8), I, 145; HuRTER, Nomenclator, 3rd ed.. Ill, 608-9. MlCHAEL OtT.

Molina (Mol. or Molin), Joan Ignacio, natural- ist and scientist; b. 20 July, 1740, at Guaraculen near Talca (Chile); d. 23 Oct. (12 Sept.?), 1829, at Imola or Bologna (Italy). Molina first studied in Santiago and became a Jesuit when only fifteen. The young scholastic excelled in languages (he composed a num- ber of poems), and in the natural sciences. In 1767 he was sent to Italy which grew to be his second home; he was ordained at Imola soon after, and then Uved as