Article Title

Canvas Walls and Cardboard Fortresses: Representations of Place in the National Historical Dramas of Early Nineteenth-Century France


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

For centuries, walls have silently communicated messages of protection and exclusion, of hostility and haven, of reverence and revenge. Art historians have long shown us how to decipher the stone texts of castles and cathedrals. More recently, semioticians, seeming to ratify the statement made by Victor Hugo in the "Preface" to Cromwell(1827 )-"Characters who act and speak are not the only ones who engrave a faithful impression of the facts in the spectator's mind. The place where a catastrophe occurred becomes a visible and inseparable witness to that event; and the absence of this kind of silent character in a play would render the greatest scenes of history incomplete"- have called attention to the importance and signification of a play's decor.1 There is, then, good reason to believe that the painted stones of a stage set, when properly examined, can be as eloquent as their referential counterparts.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.