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Philippe Quinault, Dramatist


William Brooks

Much work has been done in recent years on Quinault’s librettos, but no major study of his spoken plays has appeared since the monumental thesis by Etienne Gros, published in 1926. Moreover, he has never been the subject of a monograph in English. There is a need to re-assess the influence of his life on his plays, and to re-evaluate Gros’s findings in the light of eighty years’ research into seventeenth-century French theatre in general. This book rejects the deterministic approach that sees his plays as apprentice pieces for the greater achievement that is his corpus of librettos, as well as the implicit comparative approach that pigeon-holes his work, in passing, by borrowing from the pithy judgements of Boileau. To what extent does Quinault’s steady move away from comedy and light tragi-comedy to tragedies that combine love and menace go hand in hand with his search for greater integrity, better characterisation, and ever more credible plotting? How did he come to create and retain a tremendously faithful audience that even the withering mockery of Boileau failed to discourage? And is there any purpose in retaining the time-worn comparison between the author of Andromaque and the author of Astrate?

BIC Classifications

  • The arts (A)
    • Theatre studies (AN)
      • Acting techniques (ANC)
  • Literature & literary studies (D)
    • Literature: history & criticism (DS)
      • Literary studies: general (DSB)
        • Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900 (DSBF)

BISAC Classifications

  • Drama (DRA)
    • DRAMA / General (DRA000000)
  • Literary Criticism (LIT)
    • LITERARY CRITICISM / European / French (LIT004150)
  • Performing Arts (PER)
    • PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General (PER011000)
    • PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism (PER011020)

THEMA Classifications

  • The Arts (A)
    • Performing arts (AT)
      • Theatre studies (ATD)
        • Acting techniques (ATDC)
  • Biography, Literature & Literary studies (D)
    • Literature: history & criticism (DS)
      • Literary studies: general (DSB)
        • Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900 (DSBF)
  • Geographical qualifiers (1)
    • Europe (1D)
      • Western Europe (1DD)
        • Belgium (1DDB)
        • France (1DDF)
      • Central Europe (1DF)
        • Austria (1DFA)
        • Germany (1DFG)
        • Switzerland (1DFH)
  • Language qualifiers (2)
    • Indo-European languages (2A)
      • Romance, Italic & Rhaeto-Romanic languages (2AD)
        • French (2ADF)