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Philosemitism and the mission civilisatrice in Gautier's La Juive de Constantine

Philosemitism and the mission civilisatrice in Gautier's La Juive de Constantine Maurice Samuels Théophile Gautier's play La Juive de Constantine was not a success. Cowritten with Noël Parfait,1 the play opened at the Porte-Saint-Martin Theater on November 12, 1846 and closed after a mere 20 performances.2 Reviewers seemed to take a perverse pleasure in attacking one of their own, devoting uncharacteristically long articles to skewering the play after lamenting how sorry they were to do so: "Certes j'aurais été heureux de raconter le succès [. . .] de cette soirée," wrote the legendary critic Jules Janin in the Journal des débats: mais en présence de ces huées, de ces cris, de cet ennui [. . .] en présence de cette action noire, plate, et sans génie [. . .] il faut bien être vrai avec nos deux confrères, si nous voulons conserver le droit d'être justes et sincères avec tout le monde.3 So awful did the critic for Le Constitutionnel find the play that he sarcastically suggests it must have been written not by Gautier at all but rather by the Algerian rebel Abd El-Kader in order to discourage the French from further colonization by boring them to tears.4 It is tempting to follow these critics in dismissing the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png French Forum University of Nebraska Press

Philosemitism and the mission civilisatrice in Gautier's La Juive de Constantine

French Forum , Volume 38 (1) – Oct 11, 2013

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

Maurice Samuels Théophile Gautier's play La Juive de Constantine was not a success. Cowritten with Noël Parfait,1 the play opened at the Porte-Saint-Martin Theater on November 12, 1846 and closed after a mere 20 performances.2 Reviewers seemed to take a perverse pleasure in attacking one of their own, devoting uncharacteristically long articles to skewering the play after lamenting how sorry they were to do so: "Certes j'aurais été heureux de raconter le succès [. . .] de cette soirée," wrote the legendary critic Jules Janin in the Journal des débats: mais en présence de ces huées, de ces cris, de cet ennui [. . .] en présence de cette action noire, plate, et sans génie [. . .] il faut bien être vrai avec nos deux confrères, si nous voulons conserver le droit d'être justes et sincères avec tout le monde.3 So awful did the critic for Le Constitutionnel find the play that he sarcastically suggests it must have been written not by Gautier at all but rather by the Algerian rebel Abd El-Kader in order to discourage the French from further colonization by boring them to tears.4 It is tempting to follow these critics in dismissing the

Journal

French ForumUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Oct 11, 2013

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