Parsing Pastoral Scenes and their Dances in Early Eighteenth-Century Tragédie Lyrique


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project scrutinizes the material operation of dances for shepherds and shepherdesses, and how dance, music, and song in pastoral scenes made cultural meaning, in early eighteenth-century tragédies lyriques and one opera-ballet. These musical theatre forms received the crown's support in Louis XIV's reign and provided vehicles for representing—and potentially querying or resisting—the monarch and ways of being in the world for elites who consumed such cultural production. Deciphering dances that can be recovered from surviving notated dance scores, this study examines the dance, music, and texts for ways they circulated intertexts and debates about the nature of love and how to live it, simultaneously historicizing and containing competing models.