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Title: Representations of Shakespeare on the French stage since the 1960s
Author: Fayard, Nicole
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2001
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The transformations of twentieth-century French theatre have been accompanied by increased interest in Shakespeare. By the late 1940s French academics and directors spoke of a 'need' for his plays. As shown by Jean Chatenet and Jean Jacquot in the early 1960s, the vogue for Shakespeare was closely linked to the modernisation and decentralisation of theatre in France and grew rapidly until 1964, the quatercentenary of his birth. Since then, theatre directors and critics have continued to regard Shakespeare as a leading figure on the French stage. Charting the evolution of Shakespearian production in France from 1960 to 1997, our survey shows that Shakespeare's theatre has continued to thrive, reaching unprecedented heights by the end of the century. Each new wave of theatre directors has influenced the Shakespearian repertoire and generated new appropriations of his theatre, from critical interpretations of his plays in the light of the theories of Bertolt Brecht and Jan Kott in the 1960s and the iconoclastic radicalisations of the 1970s to the self-referential postmodern 'theatre of images' of the 1980s and 1990s and the playful and radical appropriations of the young directors of the 1990s. French directors have frequently referred to the excellence and transcendent nature of Shakespeare's theatre to explain their interest in his plays. However, this explanation is not convincing in the light of the high cultural capital needed to understand Shakespeare's plays. Interpreting the evidence in the light of theories of cultural materialism, we conclude that Shakespearian production has been maintained by belief in the mythical status of Shakespeare. This explains why, far from threatening Shakespearian production, the 1968 rejection of the classics actually encouraged its growth.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available