Violent Theater and Peaceful Politics? Robert Garnier and the French Wars of Religion


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships




Focusing on the plays written by France’s first career tragedian, Robert Garnier, this project examines the mediatic and political transformation of French theater during the Wars of Religion (1562-98). Moving beyond the fact of representation (Garnier’s plays quite evidently depict violence) to plumb the depths of its function, the project contends that in the midst of many other contemporary cultural productions that, like modern televisual and Internet images, “cloned terror” and thus quite literally perpetuated violence, the plays of Robert Garnier deploy new strategies of representation that eschew such complicity with the violence they stage. "Violent Theater" thus explores how Garnier, perhaps like a modern war photographer, questioned his medium in order to respond to violence.