Women on the Stage in Early Modern France: 1540-1750

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Overview

Focusing on actresses in France during the early modern period, Virginia Scott examines how the stereotype of the actress has been constructed. The study then moves beyond that stereotype to detail the reality of the personal and artistic lives of women on the French stage, from the almost unknown Marie Ferré – who signed a contract for 12 livres a year in 1545 to perform the ‘antiquailles de Rome or other histories, moralities, farces, and acrobatics' in the provinces – to the queens of the eighteenth-century Paris stage, whose ‘adventures' have overshadowed their artistic triumphs. The book also investigates the ways in which actresses made invaluable contributions to the development of the French theatre in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and looks at the ‘afterlives' of such women as Armande Béjart, Marquise Du Parc, Charlotte Desmares, Adrienne Lecouvreur, and Hippolyte Clairon in biographies, plays, and films.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this lively and engaging study, Virginia Scott examines the careers of actresses in France from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries, placing them firmly in their social and artistic context. Refreshingly, she eschews anecdotal evidence, thereby providing us, perhaps for the first time, with an unbiased and even- handed account of her subjects’ lives and work, but which nonetheless explores the fascination these first celebrities have exercised on audiences and critics both then and since."
-Professor Jan Clarke, Durham University

"This engaging volume is highly recommended for scholars interested in women’s history in the early modern period."
-SHARON DIANE NELL,Loyola University Maryland

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521896757
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/31/2010
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Virginia Scott is Professor Emerita in the Department of Theater, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She specializes in Commedia dell'arte and French theatre of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Her books include The Commedia dell'arte in Paris, which won the George Freedley award, and Molière: A Theatrical Life. Professor Scott is also a dramaturge, playwright, actor, and director.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

Introduction 1

1 The actress and the anecdote 11

2 "So perverse was her wantonness": antitheatricalism and the actress 38

3 In the beginning: "12 livres per year" 59

4 "Those diverting little ways": 1630-1640 101

5 Mademoiselle L'Étoile: 1640-1700 142

6 "Embellished by art": 1680-1720 198

7 Lives and afterlives: 1700-2010 246

Bibliography 289

Index 313

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