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Full-Text Articles in Modern Languages

Knowing Irony: The Problem Of Corneille, Nina Ekstein Feb 2016

Knowing Irony: The Problem Of Corneille, Nina Ekstein

Nina C Ekstein

Irony and knowledge exist in a problematic relationship to each other, one that is strikingly similar to that between knowledge and secrets. If irony becomes unambiguously obvious, that is, known to all, it is no longer perceived as irony. And a secret is not a secret if it is widely known. By the same token, someone must perceive irony in order for it to exist, just as a secret must be known by someone. Thus the question of whether a given author is ironic is unlikely to have a clear, unambiguous answer. The probable lack of final clarity does not ...


The Trilogue In Corneille's Theater, Nina Ekstein Feb 2016

The Trilogue In Corneille's Theater, Nina Ekstein

Nina C Ekstein

The classical stage is a locus of action and interaction conveyed through speech. The number of characters interacting on stage and the extent of that interaction are a significant feature of any playwright's dramaturgical practice, and in the case of Corneille - as in the case of most of his colleagues - dialogue, with or without a silent third party present on stage, largely predominates. While study has been made of his use of monologues (Cuénin-Lieber), trilogues and polylogues, at the other end of the spectrum, have received little attention.


Pompée's Absence In Corneille's 'La Mort De Pompée', Nina Ekstein Feb 2016

Pompée's Absence In Corneille's 'La Mort De Pompée', Nina Ekstein

Nina C Ekstein

Corneille's La Mort de Pompée (1643) occupies a curious position in the playwright's oeuvre, coming as it does immediately after the tetralogy. Faced with the never-ending artistic challenge of what to do next, what features to keep from earlier works, how to innovate and thereby captivate his audience, how to outdo his latest success, Corneille made some daring choices in this play. Indeed, this play is commonly viewed as a significant point in Corneille's oeuvre, one at which the playwright moves off in a radically new direction. It is my contention that the basic choice to keep ...


The Functions Of The Récit In L'Ecole Des Femmes, Nina Ekstein Feb 2016

The Functions Of The Récit In L'Ecole Des Femmes, Nina Ekstein

Nina C Ekstein

Since L'Ecole des femmes was first performed in 1662, much mention has been made of the numerous récits in the play. In La Critique de l'Ecole des femmes, Lysidas criticizes the play because "dans cette comédie-ci, il ne se passe point d'actions, et tout consiste en des récits que vient faire Agnès ou Horace.'' Indeed, the entire love intrigue takes place offstage and is reported in the form of récits. Far from being tiresome recitals, these narratives are integrated into the structure of the play on numerous levels.


The Portrait On Stage In Molière's Theater, Nina Ekstein Feb 2016

The Portrait On Stage In Molière's Theater, Nina Ekstein

Nina C Ekstein

Literary portraits, while common in a wide variety of genres, are not often thought of in connection with the stage. Discussions of dramaturgy make little mention of portraits, which is perhaps not surprising when one considers that theater is the domain of action, movement, and conflict; the portrait, on the contrary, is primarily descriptive. Verbal portraiture would not seem to be terribly effective in a theatrical context: it is unlikely to advance the action of the play, nor would it lend itself readily to gesture and movement. Theater requires the physical presence of its object, portraiture depends on a certain ...


Narrative Reliability And Spatial Limitations In Bajazet, Nina Ekstein Feb 2016

Narrative Reliability And Spatial Limitations In Bajazet, Nina Ekstein

Nina C Ekstein

Récits are a standard feature in the classical theater, commonly used to bring information to an onstage universe which is limited by the unities of time and place. Action which occurs before the opening of the play finds its natural expression, given the convention of beginning the play in medias res, in narrative form. These are the récits of exposition. Bajazet is unusually rich in such récits: Acomat recounts Amurat's actions, Bajazet's youth, Acomat's own past, and how Roxane came to be able to see Bajazet (I, i, ll. 115-42, 145-56); and Atalide explains how she and ...


The Second Woman In The Theater Of Villedieu, Nina Ekstein Feb 2016

The Second Woman In The Theater Of Villedieu, Nina Ekstein

Nina C Ekstein

Best known for her prose fiction, Marie-Catherine Desjardins de Villedieu was also a successful playwright. Her three tragi-comedies (Manlius, Nitétis, and Le Favori), while significantly dissimilar in many respects, share an unusual feature. All three plays foreground the figure of the second woman, second because her role is clearly less central to the play's action than that of another woman character. In each case, the relationships between this second woman and the other characters of the play defy the traditional categories of the seventeenth-century stage. Furthermore, the second woman is not an object of desire. The differences between the ...


La Pratique Ironique De L’Appel À L’Autorité Dans Les Péritextes Du Théâtre De Corneille, Nina Ekstein Sep 2013

La Pratique Ironique De L’Appel À L’Autorité Dans Les Péritextes Du Théâtre De Corneille, Nina Ekstein

Nina C Ekstein

Corneille a lié un grand nombre de péritextes à son œuvre théâtrale, dont les Préfaces, les avis « Au lecteur », les Arguments, les Épîtres, les Examens de 1660 et les Trois Discours sur le poème dramatique de la même année. Ce sont tous des textes polémiques du fait qu’ils représentent des prises de position dans les débats théâtraux de l’époque. Ce sont aussi des défenses souvent très spécifiques de ses œuvres. Les péritextes constituent un terrain particulièrement riche car c’est là qu’un auteur fait connaître ses intentions au lecteur.


The Theatrical Lieu De Culture Within Molière’S Theater, Nina Ekstein Sep 2013

The Theatrical Lieu De Culture Within Molière’S Theater, Nina Ekstein

Nina C Ekstein

Molière’s theater is itself, by definition, a lieu de culture. The performance of one of his plays transforms the space in which it occurs into a lieu de culture by virtue of the presence of two crucial features. First, the performance belongs to a cultural domain, in this case specifically the theater. By ‘culture’ I mean simply that which is tied to the arts, letters, manners, and scholarly pursuits. Second there must be an audience present for that performance. The same basic situation obviously holds true for any playwright whose plays are performed. What makes Molière interesting is the ...


Sex In Rotrou’S Theater: Performance And Disorder, Nina Ekstein Sep 2013

Sex In Rotrou’S Theater: Performance And Disorder, Nina Ekstein

Nina C Ekstein

Sexual desire is ubiquitous in all theater. It follows that virtually all theatrical traditions struggle with the issue of the representation of that desire onstage. The French stage of the 1630s and Jean Rotrou's theater of that period in particular constitute an unusual moment of relative freedom before the imposition of the bienséances banished sexual activity from the stage. What I propose is a theatrical reading of sex in Rotrou's plays, a tripartite examination of dramatic strategy: how Rotrou foregrounds the scandalous by direct depiction of sexuality onstage; how at other moments he moves to attenuate its prurient ...


Irony In Emmanuel Carrère’S La Moustache, Nina Ekstein Sep 2013

Irony In Emmanuel Carrère’S La Moustache, Nina Ekstein

Nina C Ekstein

The term "irony" is often applied to film, but in varied and often imprecise ways. Sometimes this slippery term is used to denote an inter-textual (or more precisely interfilmic) reference with the potential for parody; at other times it may mark a discordance between different channels (for example, between the film music and what is shown onscreen).1 I will focus on a particular type of irony, tied to undecidability, in which two alternatives are held in suspension, both present, both undeniable, and yet perfectly incompatible. A concrete example is the drawing that from one perspective seems to be of ...


Performing Violence In Rotrou’S Theater, Nina Ekstein Sep 2013

Performing Violence In Rotrou’S Theater, Nina Ekstein

Nina C Ekstein

Violence has a significant and varied role in the theater of Jean Rotrou. Discord and strife are natural to the stage and violence is one of the ways such conflict may be expressed. The inherently spectacular nature of violence makes it particularly theatrical. At the same time, violence pleasingly tantalizes audiences. In this examination of Rotrou’s entire theatrical corpus, I first consider the use of “real” violence, both on stage and off. More interesting and even more common is potential violence, which includes threats of all sorts, as well as fortuitous interruptions. Potential violence avoids the serious difficulties that ...


Rotrou’S Bélisaire: Hierarchy And Meaning, Nina Ekstein Sep 2013

Rotrou’S Bélisaire: Hierarchy And Meaning, Nina Ekstein

Nina C Ekstein

No abstract provided.