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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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Richelieu, Desmarets, and Theatre

Richelieu, Desmarets, and Theatre

(p.131) 6 Richelieu, Desmarets, and Theatre
Richelieu's Desmarets and the Century of Louis XIV

Hugh Gaston Hall

Oxford University Press

Jean Desmarets's dramatic works, written at the request of Cardinal Richelieu and for his theatres, comprise seven plays, first performed between February 19, 1636, when or soon after the small theatre in the Palais-Cardinal opened, and November 1642, less than three weeks before the Cardinal died. All but Érigone are in verse. The first four must have been written for the small theatre, the existence of which has curiously eluded literary historians. Desmarets's last plays and Le Ballet de la Prospérité were written for that Grand'Salle, inaugurated in January 1641 with Mirame. The architect of the Grand'Salle was Jacques Lemercier, famed for the château and town of Richelieu. According to Henri Sauval, the ancients possessed no comparable theatre. The Grand'Salle was a large rectangular room with a proscenium arch and raised stage at one end. This arrangement allowed spectators to be seated on wooden forms on alternate steps.

Keywords:   Jean Desmarets, Cardinal Richelieu, Érigone, Grand'Salle, Mirame, Jacques Lemercier, plays, theatre

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