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The Representation of France in the Comedies Humanistes

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Abstract:

Analyzes the extent to which the “humanist” comedies of 16th-century France reflected their author's desire to represent a tableau of contemporary life specific to the nation and the period. The action in the plays was most often set in Paris, which is presented as the center of culture and urbanity, and although true Parisians were rare among the authors, all had lived or studied in the capital. References to Parisian quartiers served as a backdrop against which the habits and customs of the period could be portrayed. The echo of contemporary events and wars was also present in the comédies of the Pléiade. The comédies of the second generation (comédies à l'italienne) direct allusions to historical events are rarer. From 1560 onward the influence of Commedia Erudita and Commedia dell'Arte encouraged the use of stereotypical characters, but French authors modernized and broadened the traditional characters by integrating them into contemporary situations, while the contemporary debate about marriage and its restructuring was also reflected on the stage.

Keywords: Comedy; Drama; France; Humanism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1477-4658.00183

Publication date: December 1, 1995

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