Grand-Guignol: the French theatre of horror

Front Cover
University of Exeter Press, 2002 - Drama - 276 pages
1 Review
The Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Paris (1897-1962) achieved a legendary reputation as the 'Theatre of Horror,' a venue displaying such explicit violence and blood-curdling terror that a resident doctor was employed to treat the numerous spectators who fainted each night. Indeed, the phrase 'grand guignol' has entered the language to describe any display of sensational horror. Since the theatre closed its doors forty years ago, the genre has been overlooked by critics and theatre historians. This book reconsiders the importance and influence of the Grand-Guignol within its social, cultural and historical contexts, and is the first attempt at a major evaluation of the genre as performance. It gives full consideration to practical applications and to the challenges presented to the actor and director. The book also includes oustanding new translations by the authors of ten Grand-Guignol plays, none of which have been previously available in English. The presentation of these plays in English for the first time is an implicit demand for a total reappraisal of the grand-guignol genre, not least for the unexpected inclusion of two very funny comedies.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Grand-Guignol: The French Theatre of Horror

User Review  - Melanie - Goodreads

This is one of those books that is fascinating and repelling at the same time. People doing plays about people being tortured and killed in grisly ways? I guess all I can say is that the French are strange. But I read the book, so I can't judge. Read full review


Location and venue
Technical Aspects of GrandGuignol Practice
Issues of Audience and Reception at the GrandGuignol

6 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2002)

Mike Wilson is Professor of Drama at the University of Glamorgan. He is author of Performance and Practice: Oral Narrative Traditions among Teenagers in Britain and Ireland (Ashgate, 1997). Richard Hand is a Principal Lecturer in Drama at the University of Glamorgan. He is also assistant editor and translator of Naturalism and Symbolism in European Theatre, 1850 - 1918(CUP, 1996).

Bibliographic information