The Changing of the Guard: French Actresses as Public Figures after the Concordat (1801)

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Abstract

This article compares two generations of actresses at France’s premier spoken theatre, the Comédie-Française. It focuses on the period following the Revolution, during which actors who had been excommunicated were recognized as citizens, and the Concordat of 1801, which reinforced the place of religion in France. As Mademoiselle Duchesnois and Mademoiselle George debuted the year after the Concordat, the generation of actresses who had known the Ancien Régime – including Mademoiselle Clairon and Mademoiselle Raucourt – was passing away. By studying the reception of these actresses by the public, as well as their interactions with the public sphere, the Church, and the state, this article examines the perceptions of actresses as public and private figures, their status as a woman, and the power that they could wield at the turn of the century, between Revolution, Empire, and monarchy.
Translated title of the contributionThe Changing of the Guard: French Actresses as Public Figures after the Concordat (1801)
Original languageFrench
Number of pages14
JournalSiècles
Volume45
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • theatre
  • celebrity
  • actresses
  • Comédie-Française
  • France
  • Napoleon

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