First performed by the Marais troupe, Jean Desmarets's second comedy, Les Visionnaires is his most successful work. The plot is simple. Alcidon, a complaisant father, has promised a daughter in marriage to each of four obsessional male suitors; but he has only three daughters, each with her own obsession. These seven characters and the imprudent father are the visionnaires: Artabaze, the braggart Capitan, played by Bellemore; the ‘poète extravagant’ Amidor, played by Montdory; the ‘amoureux en idée’ Filidan; the ‘riche imaginaire’ Phalante, who describes in detail the new château de Richelieu; Melisse ‘amoureuse d'Alexandre le Grand’; Hesperie ‘qui croit que chacun l'aime’; and Sestiane, ‘amoureuse de la comédie’. All are contrasted with Alcidon's relative Lysandre, a raisonneur. The norms of obstacle comedy, tragicomedy, and pastoral are reversed, as the multiple hasty matches must be unmade in the denouement. No marriage takes place, because each of the visionnaires is too self-absorbed to make a match.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.