The Contested Parterre: Public Theater and French Political Culture, 1680-1791

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Cornell University Press, 1999 - History - 256 pages
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In the playhouses of eighteenth-century France, clerks and students, soldiers and merchants, and the occasional aristocrat stood in the pit, while the majority of the elite sat in loges. These denizens of the parterre, who accounted for up to two-thirds of the audience, were given to disruptive behavior that culminated in full-scale riots in the last years before the Revolution. Offering a commoner's eye view of the drama offstage, this fascinating history of French theater audiences clearly demonstrates how problems in the parterre reflected tensions at the heart of the Old Regime.Jeffrey S. Ravel vividly depicts the scene in the parterre where the male spectators occupied themselves shoving one another, drinking, urinating, and confronting the actors with critiques of the performance. He traces the futile efforts of the Bourbon Court—and later its Enlightened opponents—to control parterre behavior by both persuasion and force. Ravel describes how the parterre came to represent a larger, more politicized notion of the public, one that exposed the inability of the government to accommodate the demands of French citizens. An important contribution to debates on the public sphere, Ravel's book is the first to explore the role of the parterre in the political culture of eighteenth-century France.
  

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Contents

Political Culture Print and Performance
1
Parterre Practices in EighteenthCentury Paris
13
Origins of the Contested Parterre 163080
67
The Parterre Becomes an Actor 16801725
99
Policing the Parisian Parterre 16971751
133
Policing the Parterre in Paris and the Provinces 175189
161
The Parterre and French National Identity
191
Social Category and Theater 171768
229
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Page 240 - Le Théâtre italien ou le Recueil de toutes les scènes françaises qui ont été jouées sur le Théâtre Italien de l'Hôtel de Bourgogne par la Troupe des Comédiens du Roi de l'Hôtel de Bourgogne] , 1ère éd.

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About the author (1999)

Jeffrey S. Ravel is an associate professor of history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of The Contested Parterre: Public Theater and French Political Culture, 1680--1791 and a cofounder of CESAR, a Web site devoted to the study of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French theater. Linda Zionkowski is a professor of English at Ohio University and the author of Men's Work: Gender, Class, and the Professionalization of Poetry, 1660--1784.

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