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Dance as TextIdeologies of the Baroque Body$
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Mark Franko

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794010

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794010.001.0001

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Molière and Textual Closure

Molière and Textual Closure

Comedy-Ballet, 1661–1670

(p.107) Five Molière and Textual Closure
Dance as Text

Mark Franko

Oxford University Press

This chapter is devoted to the posterity of court ballet in Molière’s comedy-ballets. Far from being an original invention, Molière’s comedy-ballet is actually a reinterpretation of the burlesque in a more repressive political climate under Louis XIV. It analyzes two comedy-ballets in depth: Molière’s first, Les Fâcheux (1661), and his most famous, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (1670). Les Fâcheux is premiered contemporaneously with Louis XIV’s Lettres patentes instituting a Royal Academy of Dancing. The Lettres reveal a young Louis XIV at his accession to power, acting to eliminate burlesque ballets from public performance. At the same time, Les Fâcheux reveals a theatrical genius coping with the old problems of dance and text. Its analysis of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme challenges the traditional interpretation of that work by identifying the burlesque ballet traditions that permeate it. Drawing on the research of the previous chapters, it shows that Jourdain is actually a burlesque dancer. It discusses Molière scholarship on this question, particularly Pellisson, Auld, Defaux, and Abraham.

Keywords:   act, aesthetic, autonomy, comedy-ballet, entrée, Louis XIV, Les Fâcheux, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Letters Patent, Molière

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