By examining various criticisms of Voltaire's comedy L'Écossaise (1760), I explain how pamphlets and publication strategies altered dramatic performance. Instead of separating non-theatrical writing from dramatic texts, I underline how pamphlets emerged as part of the author's construction of a "theatrical event." During the cultural battles of the mid-eighteenth century, participants sought to "ready" their public by any discursive means possible. This persuasive activity began before the premiere of plays, which were also attempts to push the spectator into thinking congruently with the author of the work. Drawing on reviews from members of both the philosophe and antiphilosophe camps, I highlight the ambiguity between pamphlet and dramatic text, playwright and polemicist, performance and "set up," and finally, fiction writer and theatre critic.
Connors, Logan J.
"Performing Criticism during Cultural War: The Case of Voltaire's L'Écossaise (1760),"
1, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/ecf/vol23/iss1/3
Logan J. Connors is assistant professor of French and Francophone Studies at Bucknell University. He is currently working on a book manuscript about polemics and theatre in eighteenthcentury France. When this essay won the Eighteenth-Century Fiction 2009 Graduate Esssay contest, he was a PhD candidate in French and Francophone Studies at Louisiana State University and a doctorant en histoire du théâtre at the Université Paris -- Sorbonne.