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Julien Duvivier by Ben McCann (review)

Julien Duvivier by Ben McCann (review) Book Reviews 495 explores the tension between the spectacular nature of martyrdom and the period’s taboos on onstage bloodshed above all through Desfontaines’s adaptation of the Saint Eustathius legend, arguing that the saint’s ghastly fate (of being burned alive inside a bronze bull) is transformed into a source of aesthetic pleasure for the spectator that echoes the holy delight that he and his Christian family experience in their torments. Chapter Three turns to a still more complex, self-reflexive juxtaposition of the divine and the theatrical through the Saint Genesius tale, in which a pagan actor is converted while playing a Christian role. Semk explores how Des- fontaines and Rotrou negotiate the unsettling juxtaposition of God’s grace and the actor’s notorious ontological malleability to provide an apology for both theater and religion. Chapter Four, on Corneille’s Polyeucte, builds on elements of each of the previous chapters, and particularly perhaps on Chapter Two’s observation that “Christianity’s ambivalent attitude toward spectacle creates conditions in which the success of the spectacle depends, paradoxically, on a disavowal of the spectator’s gaze” (32). Corneille takes this disavowal to something of an extreme in his first martyr play, not even recounting the saint’s torments onstage. Instead, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png French Forum University of Nebraska Press

Julien Duvivier by Ben McCann (review)

French Forum , Volume 42 (3) – Aug 17, 2018

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 French Forum, Inc.
ISSN
1534-1836

Abstract

Book Reviews 495 explores the tension between the spectacular nature of martyrdom and the period’s taboos on onstage bloodshed above all through Desfontaines’s adaptation of the Saint Eustathius legend, arguing that the saint’s ghastly fate (of being burned alive inside a bronze bull) is transformed into a source of aesthetic pleasure for the spectator that echoes the holy delight that he and his Christian family experience in their torments. Chapter Three turns to a still more complex, self-reflexive juxtaposition of the divine and the theatrical through the Saint Genesius tale, in which a pagan actor is converted while playing a Christian role. Semk explores how Des- fontaines and Rotrou negotiate the unsettling juxtaposition of God’s grace and the actor’s notorious ontological malleability to provide an apology for both theater and religion. Chapter Four, on Corneille’s Polyeucte, builds on elements of each of the previous chapters, and particularly perhaps on Chapter Two’s observation that “Christianity’s ambivalent attitude toward spectacle creates conditions in which the success of the spectacle depends, paradoxically, on a disavowal of the spectator’s gaze” (32). Corneille takes this disavowal to something of an extreme in his first martyr play, not even recounting the saint’s torments onstage. Instead,

Journal

French ForumUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Aug 17, 2018

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