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Rousseau on stage: Playwright, musician, spectator
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.
2017 (English)Collection (editor) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Following his opposition to the establishment of a theatre in Geneva, Jean-Jacques Rousseau is often considered an enemy of the stage. Yet he was fascinated by drama: he was a keen theatre-goer, his earliest writings were operas and comedies, his admiration for Italian lyric theatre ran through his career, he wrote one of the most successful operas of the day, Le Devin du village, and with his Pygmalion, he invented a new theatrical genre, the Scène lyrique (‘melodrama’). 

Through multi-faceted analyses of Rousseau’s theatrical and musical works, authors re-evaluate his practical and theoretical involvement with and influence on the dramatic arts, as well as his presence in modern theatre histories. New readings of the Lettre à d’Alembert highlight its political underpinnings, positioning it as an act of resistance to external bourgeois domination of Geneva’s cultural sphere, and demonstrate the work's influence on theatrical reform after Rousseau’s death. Fresh analyses of his theory of voice, developed in the Essai sur l’origine des langues, highlight the unique prestige of Italian opera for Rousseau. His ambition to rethink the nature and function of stage works, seen in Le Devin du village and then, more radically, in Pygmalion, give rise to several different discussions in the volume, as do his complex relations with Gluck. Together, contributors shed new light on the writer’s relationship to the stage, and argue for a more nuanced approach to his theatrical and operatic works, theories and legacy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2017. , p. 310
Series
Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, ISSN 0435-2866 ; 9
Keywords [en]
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, theatre, opera, aesthetics
National Category
Arts
Research subject
Theatre Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-150416ISBN: 978-0-7294-1199-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-150416DiVA, id: diva2:1167527
Available from: 2017-12-19 Created: 2017-12-19 Last updated: 2017-12-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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