Kiara's Korner


Hello Everyone!

I have officially designated this portion of the blog as a my personal dumping site for this project. I mean this in a good way, as in I can dump whatever I think is relevant to these assignments here. Why is that good, you wonder? I would answer that it is because then it will not be stuck to my neurological roof, being therefore inaccessible to others. So read on gaily and rather undaily.


First Entry

Bourgeois Drama 1700-1770. When I learned this was our Assigned Topic I imagined we would we be studying an extravagant form of theatre performed strictly for France's most elite. That just goes to show how far removed our perception of the word Bourgeois is from it's actual meaning, which is the middle class and more so the upper middle class. So when this form of theatre is referred to it is in reference to a revolutionary idea (that occurred before France's Revolution) to write dramas (i.e. tragedies) using ordinary middle class people's as the subjects. Prior to this, any form of theatre dealing with tragic themes and sentiment to evoke some sort of emotional reaction in the audience, made it's hero someone of significant nobility. Bourgeois Drama flipped this concept on it's head by making it's protagonist a ordinary middle class fellow. To better understand this, I began doing research on key players in this movement, thinking it was something relevant only to France. What I found was that it was actually an Englishman named George Lillo, who is credited with kicking off this era of European Drama with his play The London Merchant about a Merchant's apprentice who is sentenced to death after a series of sinful acts and is eventually spiritually forgiven. Following Lillo's example playwright's across Europe began experimenting with similar ideas about drama . In France the most well known were Denis Diderot and Pierre Beaucharmais. As a group we chose to focus in on Diderot as he is the one playwright that came up most frequently in all of our searches. However, I am still intrigued by the origins of the form in England and the transition over 20 years to France, as well as the designated French word. A few questions resulted of this spark of interest. How did this (transition/dispersal) happen? Was Diderot inspired by Lillo, and if so, how did he learn of him and in what ways? Why is the London Merchant the only play of Lillo's that I can find? What sparked the move towards representing the middle and lower classes in this alternative light? Does it have any relevance to the French Revolution?

1 Comment

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This is a great entry in terms of both giving specific info and attacking some historiographic questions. In particular, you do a good job to chart the different meaning "bourgeois" has in contemporary society versus that of 18th century France. The major questions that you ask are really good ones, and I'm interested in knowing how you looked for these answers and what information you found.

I seem to be missing your second entry. Please make sure to post all future journal entries by the appropriate check-in date to avoid a larger penatly.


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