(Critical Survey of Literature, Revised Edition)

In TURCARET, OR, THE FINANCIER action never lags; lines never drag. This type of French satirical comedy is marked by the main features of earthy realism, an almost didactic purpose, and photographic characterizations, and TURCARET is a classic of its kind. The satire is founded both in personalities and in national conditions. The title character is the profiteer, whose altruism is nonexistent and whose wealth is his only merit. Those who ingratiate themselves for favors from this parvenu are no more admirable than he is. Through the relationships of the various characters, Lesage presents a clear picture of the social disintegration which began in the last years of Louis XIV, of the clumsy fiscal system of seventeenth-century France, and of the demoralized attitude of the French resulting from the military disasters of the war with England and Austria.