William D Howarth sets Le Mariage de Figaro and Beaumarchais's other dramatic works in the broad historical context of pre-revolutionary France, providing a unique and authoritative study of the dramatist and his plays. He presents detailed analyses of the plays themselves, discussing their critical receptions, their influence on drama of the period and their legacy. Included is a discussion of the operatic adaptations: Mozart's Mariage de Figaro and Rossini's Le Barbier de Seville. The author also provides analyses of sketches and fragments only recently re-discovered.
Beaumarchais and the Theatre is a comprehensive and much needed study of one of the most significant playwrights of the turbulent eighteenth century. It is invaluable reading for students of theatre history.
Table of Contents
Introduction; Part I The Making of a Dramatist; Chapter 1 Watchmaker, Musician, Courtier; Chapter 2 Pamphleteer and Public Figure; Chapter 3 Diplomat and Secret Agent; Chapter 4 Beaumarchais and the Revolution; Part II The Context of a Career; Chapter 5 Theatres and Theatregoing in the Ancien Régime; Chapter 6 Dramatic Writing in the Eighteenth Century; Chapter 7 The Theatre and Authority in the Eighteenth Century; Part III The Plays; Chapter 8 Beaumarchais and the Parades; Chapter 9 Other Fragments; Chapter 10 Eugénie; Chapter 11 Les Deux Amis; Chapter 12 Le Barbier de Séville; Chapter 13 Le Mariage De Figaro; Chapter 14 Tarare; Chapter 15 La Mère Coupable; Conclusion;
William D. Howarth is Emeritus Professor of French at Bristol University and Honorary Professor of French at the University of Warwick. He has written widely on the subject of French drama, and previous publications include Life and Letters in France: The Seventeenth Century, Sublime and Grotesque: A Study of French Romantic Drama, Molière: A Playwright and his Audience and, as editor, Comic Drama: The European Heritage.
' ... the book effectively demonstrates how the plays weaknesses, are rooted in both the unique personality of their author and the wider social and theatrical environment. Beaumarchais thus emerges as an important nexus, making this study of his theatre, in fact an anatomy of Revolutionary French theatre.' - Theatre Research International, Vol 23. No. 1.