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The Culture of WarLiterature of the Siege of Paris 1870-1871$
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Colin Foss

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621921

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621921.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

The Boulevards Lose their Theaters

The Boulevards Lose their Theaters

(p.25) Chapter 1 The Boulevards Lose their Theaters
(p.iii) The Culture of War

Colin Foss

Liverpool University Press

During the Siege of Paris, Parisian theaters had to escape their reputation as places of leisure for the elites of Europe and re-imagine their purpose within a city at war and in the throes of political tumult. When the Siege began, a municipal decree closed all theaters within the capital. Their re-opening was predicated on an orientation towards civic life, a repertoire that more closely reflected the revolutionary spirit of the Siege, and a willingness to open their doors to popular and populist gatherings that had previously been the purview of political clubs. This chapter relates the conflict between institutional independence and a changing public opinion, focusing on Édouard Thierry, the director of the Comédie-Française, in his attempt to sell the Parisian public on the idea that his institution was a place of populist discourse, not just a distraction in times of war. To do so, he had to argue that French theatrical patrimony was the best defense against the enemy. In other words, he argued that going to the theater was patriotic.

Keywords:   Theater, Comédie-Française, Performance, Leisure, Boulevard, Siege, War

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