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Philippe Quinault, Dramatist [Paperback]

William Brooks


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Book Description

Dec 22 2008 3039115332 978-3039115334 1
Much work has been done in recent years on Quinault's librettos, but no major study of his spoken plays has appeared since the monumental thesis by Etienne Gros, published in 1926. Moreover, he has never been the subject of a monograph in English. There is a need to re-assess the influence of his life on his plays, and to re-evaluate Gros's findings in the light of eighty years' research into seventeenth-century French theatre in general. This book rejects the deterministic approach that sees his plays as apprentice pieces for the greater achievement that is his corpus of librettos, as well as the implicit comparative approach that pigeon-holes his work, in passing, by borrowing from the pithy judgements of Boileau. To what extent does Quinault's steady move away from comedy and light tragi-comedy to tragedies that combine love and menace go hand in hand with his search for greater integrity, better characterisation, and ever more credible plotting? How did he come to create and retain a tremendously faithful audience that even the withering mockery of Boileau failed to discourage? And is there any purpose in retaining the time-worn comparison between the author of ‘Andromaque’ and the author of ‘Astrate’?

Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing; 1 edition (Dec 22 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3039115332
  • ISBN-13: 978-3039115334
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g

Product Description

Review

«This book by William Brooks is a major contribution to the history of seventeenth-century French theatre and it should be acquired by all research libraries.» (Edmund J. Campion, The European Legacy). «This much-needed study blows away the critical cobwebs and the oft-repeated errors and clichés (...).» (C.J. Gossip, New Zealand Journal of French Studies). «Très bien documenté, le livre de William Brooks est incontestablement appelé à remplacer l'étude d'Etienne Gros et à devenir le nouvel ouvrage de référence sur le sujet.» (Stella Spriet, H-France Review)

About the Author

The Author: William Brooks is Professor of French at the University of Bath, UK. He has published extensively in seventeenth-century French studies, notably the theatre and especially Quinault, early baroque opera librettos, and the life and writings of Elisabeth Charlotte, Duchess of Orleans. He is co-editor, with Rainer Zaiser, of ‘Religion, Ethics, and History in the French Long Seventeenth Century’ and ‘Theatre, Fiction, and Poetry in the French Long Seventeenth Century’, two volumes of papers from a major conference of French early modern scholars, published by Peter Lang in 2007.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Quinault's Spoken Theatre Aug. 5 2009
By B. Norman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the definitive book, in any language, on the spoken theatre of Philippe Quinault, who is better known for the libretti he wrote for the operas of Jean-Baptiste Lully, which came after a highly successful career during the 1650s and 1660s as an author of comedies, tragi-comedies, and tragedies. One can of course read these plays with an eye toward a better understanding of the libretti, but they are best appreciated as works which are remarkable in themselves and which reflect the taste of the majority of the literary public.

Brooks knows these plays better than anyone, and he has provided an excellent guide to them. The opening chapters present the plays in chronological order, in the context of Quinault's life. A plot summary introduces each play, followed by discussion of the performance history and sources. A chapter is then devoted to the skill with which the playwrite develops his characters, especially in the last five plays, which Brooks calls the "mature plays". The final chapter presents Quinault's "art poétique" and the critical reaction to it. Although Quinault has not always enjoyed the greatest reputation among critics, Brooks is correct to say that his "plays form a corpus fit to stand on its own merits and one which was influential in its day" (p. 479).

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