Rev.E: Revolution and Empire. Evolution of the dramatic art and cultural policies between the end of French Revolution and the Imperial Era

Starting in October 2020, the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant Rev.E project (24 months) attributed to P. Perazzolo is meant to complement the AHRC-funded ‘French Theatre of the Napoleonic Era’ and the ANR financed “Therepsicore” in order to enhance the critical reflection on the dramatic production of the French Consulate (1799-1804). Coordinated by K. Astbury (Warwick University, host institution) and P. Frantz (Paris-Sorbonne, secondment institution), this interdisciplinary research will profit of the cooperation of an international team in order to provide a better understanding of the dramatic evolution during the Revolutionary and Imperial Era conceived as a whole period (1789-1815).

Due to its double nature – text and representation –, theatre belongs to the literary domain while having very specific creative aspects that binds its public reception to the socio-historical context in which it is produced. Theatre is one of the most effective collective expressions of society, on which it can also impact, especially in the considered period. Authors of the end of 18th century explicitly mention “l’électricité du theatre” as a powerful performative (in the linguistic sense of the term) medium. At the time, dramatic fiction intensely reflected and contributed to shaping an “esprit collectif”, a “politique des émotions” (A. Corbin), and its analysis permits a still topical reflection on collective and institutional mechanisms of control of the freedom of art (and press).

Focusing on these aspects, Rev.E project aims at reconstructing a missing calendar of the Parisian theatrical repertory during the Consulate (November 9th 1799-May 18th 1804) and the presentation of complementary primary materials such as coeval theatrical press reviews, which will be published in a freely accessible online calendar/database. This will help to partially solve the current lack of reliable and easily available data by supplying a clear mapping of the repertory and of its “horizon d’attente” in order to better investigate the existing relationship between the theatrical landscape and the broader social and political circumstances that defined this seminal period. Theatre will be analysed in its interconnections with History and cultural policies at a pivotal point in the years 1789-1815 that mark the birth of modern France.

The study will enhance critical reflection on a still unfairly neglected production through the adoption of an original interdisciplinary approach taking into consideration historical, political and literary aspects. This will permit the definition of a more scientific and unitary vision of the evolution of coeval aesthetics and dramatic art, whose interrelation with the historical and political context is fundamental. An international conference, lectures and academic seminars held in France and in the United Kingdom will be devoted to these questions and will be complemented by other “grand public” events, workshops and activities (such as the staging of a contemporary melodrama) aiming at offering  a better knowledge of the coeval dramatic art while commemorating Napoleon in the bicentenary of his death (2021).

Paola Perazzolo


Cite this blog post
reve2020 (2021, April 11). Rev.E: Revolution and Empire. Evolution of the dramatic art and cultural policies between the end of French Revolution and the Imperial Era. Napoleonic theatre. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from

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