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Title: The civic and patriotic spirit in the French theatre in the eighteenth century
Author: Annandale, Eric Thomas
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1963
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Patriotic and civic spirit in the theatre in eighteenth century France cannot be understood properly unless related to the general trends of thought of that period. A brief examination of the ideas of several leading thinkers and then of the diffusion of the spirit of patriotism through the works of various secondary writers helps to illustrate the two-fold nature of patriotism in the eighteenth century: "old" or nationalistic and emotional, and "new" or civic and philosophic. An increasingly important civic and patriotic role was assigned to the theatre, especially after the middle of the century. Apparently technical reforms were often closely related to this role, for they involved making the theatre more interesting, more accessible, and thus more influential in the diffusion of ideas. "Old" patriotism was an important element in a large number of dramatic works beginning as early as 1730 but developing particularly after 1755. It manifested itself in works based on French historical subjects or characters, in works based on French military exploits, and in works based on anti-foreign sentiments or on a desire to depict the character of the French people. This patriotism was largely royalist and conservative. "New" patriotism which tended to be republican in spirit without necessarily explicitly advocating republicanism appeared in works which were based on a wide range of subjects, but which were mainly concerned with social and political questions like the nature and basis of government, the structure of French society, the importance and the relationship to civic and social responsibility of the qualities of sensibilite and bienfaisance, and the problems of religious tolerance and political liberty. The two-fold nature of French patriotism was reflected in the theatre, but, in view of the influence of the non-nationalistic ideas of the philosophes, nationalistic patriotism played a larger role in the theatre than might have been expected.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Theater History