Revolution in the Theatre: French Romantic Theories of Drama

Revolution in the Theatre: French Romantic Theories of Drama

Revolution in the Theatre: French Romantic Theories of Drama

Revolution in the Theatre: French Romantic Theories of Drama


"This book presents a picture of the reaction against neoclassicism in France and the subsequent triumph of romanticism with Hugo's Hernani in 1830. Daniels has written an excellent introduction outlining the development of romanticism plus individual introductions and notes for each of the selections. Much of the material is translated for the first time.... Daniels makes available new material on an important subject and explains its significance in a clear and interesting manner. Excellent bibliography, index, and fine illustrations from the author's collection. The book will be useful for undergraduates and graduates in all areas of theater, and faculty members will find it useful in a variety of classes." - Choice


Revolution in the Theatre: French Romantic Theories of Drama. the title should be clear in its meaning: Romanticism in France meant revolution in the theatre, and the date of this revolution, 25 February 1830, as Théophile Gautier notes in his History of Romanticism, "remains engraved upon our past in blazing letters: the première of Hernani."

The majority of the selections in this volume were written prior to 25 February 1830. Romanticism was delayed in France, both because of political factors--the Empire--and because of the strength of neo-classicism in general in French culture. the latter was especialy true of the French theatre, which was dominated by the shadows of its first geniuses, Cornielle, Racine, and Molière. Thus, even after the French romaniticsbegan to publish in the 1820s, the theatre, especially the Comédie Française, was not open to them; hence the protracted critical discussions of the 1820s which precede the practical applications of the theory to the stage.

After 1830, after Hernani, there was little need for critical debate. the history of the French romanitic drama is a history of productions in the 1830s. Very little significant theory was written during this period.

The selections in this volume, then, present the French romantics' ideas about the theatre before they actually became involved in production. They provide a general understanding of the variety of factors that the romantics felt needed to be changed and give a good picture of what neo-classicism had become under the Restoration. They offer an idea of the variety of approaches to the theatre that the romantics envisaged.

In the Introduction I have attampted to place French romanticism in the context of the development of romanticism in Europe. I have also provided a general overview of the events in the French theatre during . . .

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