I Lieux théâtraux et royaux
ILieux théâtraux et royaux Perry Gethner Lyon as a Theatrical Space: The Case of Françoise Pascal’s Tragi-comedies Françoise Pascal occupies an important place in the history of French women writers, being the first to get her plays publicly staged by a profes- sional company. (Henceforth I shall refer to her as just Pascal.) We know for sure that her Sésostris was performed in Lyon, probably in 1660, and it is possible, although not certain, that her first play, Agathonphile martyr, was performed there in 1655. The first staging in Paris of a work by a female play- wright would not take place until 1662, when the tragi-comedy Manlius by Marie-Catherine Desjardins, the future Mme de Villedieu, was performed at the Hôtel de Bourgogne. Why did Lyon get there first? It would seem that its cultured elite was less prejudiced against women writers, viewing the cultivation of young talent, whether male or female, as redounding to the reputation of their city. This explanation is especially plausible given that Pascal, on the title page of two of her plays, followed her name with the qualifier ‘fille lyonnaise’, and she dedicated all her plays to local dignitaries. That the local of ficials approved of her work is clear since on two occa- sions they awarded her a gratification for a tragi-comedy. She also enjoyed the esteem of other local writers, as evidenced by the fact that some of the volumes of her published work contain highly laudatory poems...
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