By examining various criticisms of Voltaire's comedy L'Écossaise (1760), I explain how pamphlets and publication strategies altered dramatic performance. Instead of separating non-theatrical writing from dramatic texts, I underline how pamphlets emerged as part of the author's construction of a "theatrical event." During the cultural battles of the mid-eighteenth century, participants sought to "ready" their public by any discursive means possible. This persuasive activity began before the premiere of plays, which were also attempts to push the spectator into thinking congruently with the author of the work. Drawing on reviews from members of both the philosophe and antiphilosophe camps, I highlight the ambiguity between pamphlet and dramatic text, playwright and polemicist, performance and "set up," and finally, fiction writer and theatre critic.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory