248 pages | 6 x 9 | 11 illus.
Cloth 1997 | ISBN 9780812234251 | $59.95s | Outside the Americas £50.00
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A volume in the series New Cultural Studies
The author draws upon the methodologies of theater and cultural studies to examine the construction of "the Orient" on the Parisian stage during the nineteenth century, the period of France's first imperial expansions into North Africa and the Middle East.
As an increasingly large segment of the French population moved into contact with the Middle East and North Africa as soldiers, colonial administrators, settlers, and merchants, the balance between fantasy and immediacy in Orientalized drama shifted. The domestic melodrama gave way to elaborately staged military spectacles based on current events. Performed before working-class audiences, many of whose members were to be called up for military service, these spectacles bore explicit political and imperial agendas.
Mining rich archival resources of play-texts, censorship reports, critical reviews, and contemporary writings on performance practice, this book reveals the complex processes by which the institutions of popular culture helped shape nineteenth-century notions of race, ethnicity, and nationality.
Angela C. Pao is Associate Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature at Indiana University