A Cultural History of Theatre in the Age of Enlightenment (The Cultural Histories, Book 4)

February 23, 2021
A Cultural History of Theatre in the Age of Enlightenment (The Cultural Histories, Book 4)

French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, 'the generaleffect of the theatre is to strengthen the national character toaugment the national inclinations, and to give a new energy to allthe passions'. During the Enlightenment, the advancement of radicalideas along with the emergence of the bourgeois class contributedto a renewed interest in theatre's efficacy, informed by philosophyyet on behalf of politics. While the 18th century saw a growingdesire to define the unique and specific features of a nation'sdrama, and audiences demanded more realistic portrayals ofhumanity, theatre is also implicated in this age of revolutions.A Cultural History of Theatre in the Age of Enlightenmentexamines these intersections, informed by the writings of key18th-century philosophers.Richly illustrated with 45 images, the ten chapters each take adifferent theme as their focus: institutional frameworks; socialfunctions; sexuality and gender; the environment of theatre;circulation; interpretations; communities of production; repertoireand genres; technologies of performance; and knowledgetransmission.