Theatre, Politics, and Markets in Fin-de-Siécle Paris: Staging Modernity (Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History Series)

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Sally Charnow explores tensions within the emergence of theatrical modernism in France during the last years of the nineteenth century, providing new ways of understanding the social, cultural, and political history of the French Third Republic.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Sally Debra Charnow’s Theatre, Politics, and Markets in Fin-de-Siècle Paris aims to contribute not only to our histories of theater but also to our histories of modernism, modernity, and the complex creation of national and regional identity. Charnow is particularly good at describing individual avant-garde plays, explaining why modernist directors picked them to produce, and analyzing how French reviewers responded to the Paris premieres of both French and foreign works, especially the work of Henrik Ibsen....Charnow’s work will probably be most interesting for historians of French theater and politics. It could also be useful, however, for scholars interested in pursuing the comparative study of modernism or further understanding how social, economic, and cultural developments overlapped, intersected, and influenced each other in the complex period from 1890 to 1914."--Journal of Modern History

"An avant-garde theater crystallized in late nineteenth-century France, a theater of social and psychological engagement, most often associated with the names of Antoine and Lugné-Poe. Sally Charnow approaches the phenomenon with a wide-angle lens which embraces, not just the aesthetic, but also the political and social contexts in which the new theater emerged. This is not a theater history of the hermetic sort, but one that opens the subject to readers of all kinds who share Charnow’s passion for the variety and creativity of the French fin-de-siècle scene."--Philip Nord, Professor of History, Princeton University

“Given the importance of the theatre in French culture, it is surprising that historians have devoted little attention to its role in shaping national life. Sally Charnow’s Theatre, Politics, and Markets in Fin-de-Siècle Paris is thus an important and welcome contribution to the field. Charnow examines both the aesthetics of the modernist theatre and its politics against the backdrop of an emerging mass democracy and the concomitant development of commercial culture. Through her deft handling of literary and historical sources, she illustrates the fluidity between the seemingly opposing categories of avant-garde and commercial art; elite and ‘popular’ culture; regional and national identity. The result is a lively and fresh perspective on a key aspect of modern French culture.”--Venita Datta, Associate Professor of French, Wellesley College

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sally Debra Charnow is Associate Professor of History, Hofstra University.

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Table of Contents

Part One: Economics and Politics of the New Theatre
• French Society, Commercial Culture, and the Emergence of Modern Theatre: André Antoine and the Théâtre Libre
• The Politics of Preventive Censorship
Part II: Aesthetics of Modernist Theatre
Expressions of Modernity
• Foreign Playwrights, French Critics, and Avant-Garde Theatres
Part III: Modern Theatre and the "Popular"
The Popular Theatre Movement
Le Théâtre du Peuple: Modern Theatre, Regionalism, and the Search for the Authentic in Fin-de-Siècle France
• Conclusion

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