Daughters of Eve: A Cultural History of French Theater Women by Lenard R. Berlanstein

By Lenard R. Berlanstein

Recognized and seductive, girl degree performers haunted French public lifestyles within the century ahead of and after the Revolution. This pathbreaking research delineates the specific position of actresses, dancers, and singers in the French erotic and political imaginations. From the instant they turned an unofficial caste of mistresses to France's elite through the reign of Louis XIV, their photo fluctuated among emasculating males and delighting them. Drawing upon newspaper bills, society columns, theater feedback, govt experiences, autobiographies, public rituals, and an incredible corpus of fiction, Lenard Berlanstein argues that the general public photograph of actresses was once formed by way of the political weather and ruling ideology; therefore they have been deified in a single period and damned within the subsequent. Tolerated whilst civil society functioned and demonized while it faltered, they ultimately handed from notoriety to megastar with the stabilization of parliamentary lifestyles after 1880. in basic terms then may possibly lady fanatics appreciate them brazenly, and will the country formally realize their contributions to nationwide existence. Daughters of Eve is a provocative examine how a tradition creates social perceptions and reshuffles collective identities in keeping with political swap.

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Extra info for Daughters of Eve: A Cultural History of French Theater Women from the Old Regime to the Fin de Siècle

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Eventually he bought her the marquisate of Tourvoie. 10 The sexual adventures of one of the few military heroes of eighteenthcentury France, Maurice, Count de Saxe (1696–1750), also belie the accounts of seduction contained in the novels. 12 The thespian’s sudden, mysterious death stirred rumors that the duchess had poisoned her to end the rivalry for Maurice’s heart. If true, Bouillon was still unable to keep his love, for Maurice shared his bed with one theater woman after another. The marshal was a patron of the theater and even took an accomplished acting group along with him on military campaigns.

21 Jean-Baptiste Molière’s Bourgeois Gentleman, depicted the prototypical social climber of the seventeenth century, who believed that he must seduce a court lady to gain entry into the aristocracy; he did not consider an actress appropriate. Yet when the play was first performed in 1670, theater women were already gaining a foothold in libertine practices. Actresses had made their appearance in Parisian society during the first quarter of the century as permanent members of resident acting troupes.

38 Foreigners were often amazed by how much theatrical coverage there was in Le Figaro: a review column each for drama and music, a column on theater life, a column on Parisian society events, and a list of spectacles. 39 Le Gaulois, Gil Blas, L’Echo de Paris, and L’Eclair were other Boulevard newspapers, and Le Temps also offered substantial coverage of theater life. They were joined by the early illustrated weeklies (featuring engraved illustrations, not photographs) like L’Illustration, La Vie parisienne, and Le Monde illustré.

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