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Richelieu's Desmarets and the Century of Louis XIV$
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Hugh Gaston Hall

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198151579

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198151579.001.0001

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Plays for the Grand'Salle of the Palais-Cardinal

Plays for the Grand'Salle of the Palais-Cardinal

(p.179) 9 Plays for the Grand'Salle of the Palais-Cardinal
Richelieu's Desmarets and the Century of Louis XIV

Hugh Gaston Hall

Oxford University Press

As early as 1638, Jean Desmarets began working on plays for performance in the planned Grand'Salle de spectacle in the Palais-Cardinal. His last three plays are experimental and innovative, especially Mirame, with stagecraft adapted to show off the technical capacity of the new theatre. Cardinal Richelieu's Grand'Salle helped to make acting more respectable and nudged French theatre further toward elitist productions, dominated by its great framing proscenium arch. Europe, an allegory of Richelieu's plans for a settlement of the Thirty Years War, must also have been written to benefit in performance from the new theatre's special characteristics. As might be supposed in the light of the occasion of Mirame and the subject-matter of Europe, both met with considerable contemporary success as well as with criticism. In some ways they represent the apex of Desmarets's career in theatre, though neither play achieved so much lasting success as Les Visionnaires.

Keywords:   Jean Desmarets, Grand'Salle, Palais-Cardinal, Mirame, Cardinal Richelieu, Europe, Les Visionnaires

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