Sites of the Spectator

BookSites of the Spectator

Sites of the Spectator

Emerging Literary and Cultural Practice in eighteenth-century France

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2001:09


September 1st, 2001

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The Spectator is a major figure of the French Enlightenment whose far-reaching significance has not been fully grasped. As a basic organising principle of culture production in France of the early and mid-eighteenth century, the Spectator is an intermediary figure residing between the ancien régime and France of the Revolution. This transitional moment can be read in – and, furthermore, was prepared by – the emergence of several new literary genres in which, paradoxically, a Spectator was allotted the principle role. 
This study traces the process in which the king’s disenfranchised subjects, at first limited merely to looking on at the spectacle of royal authority and privilege, began to evolve through versatile Spectator roles into citizen subjects. Each of four chapters reveals the significance of these figures to the development of a particular genre or disciplinary formation: Spectator journalism, art criticism, fiction of voyage and the exotic, and alternative popular theater (the théâtre de la joie). These genres designate the Spectator as constituing the narrative, thematic, textual focus that articulates contemporary life, foreign exotic cultures, art objects and knowledge itself. In the shift from a silent, near- invisible audience to a more active, more sharply delineated entity of Spectators – for whom, and in function of whom, not only literary and social production but the monarchy itself were increasingly obliged to perform – a vital and as yet untold story of early and mid-eighteenth-century culture is recounted. 

'Pucci’s treatment of the four genres she examines is at times brilliant, and this book offers new perspectives for understanding the cultural and literary changes in the first half of the century.'

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page4
Copyright Page5
i. Le Spectateur Franҫais13
ii. The Spectator Trajectory15
iii. A New Kind of Spectacle17
I. The Spectator Surfaces: Tableau and Page in Marivaux's Le Spectateur Franҫais28
i. The Journalistic Format of Le Spectateur Franҫais30
ii. Epistolary Discourse and the Generic Spectator34
iii. The 'Quarrel of the Spectators'40
iv. A New Moralism45
v. A New Aesthetics: The Framed Surface46
vi. Changing Spaces of Exhibition: The Tableau and Journalism48
vii. Tableau and the Loose Leaf: The New Journalism55
viii. The (Self-) Portrait and its Traits59
ix. The Portrait in Historical Frame61
x. Portraits and Reflections in the Mirror: Galatea and Pygmalion62
xi. Between Journalism and Moralism: Detours and Transparencies66
2. Keeping the Image Honest: The Narrator as Spectator in Tableaux of Diderot's Salons74
i. A Body of Experience81
ii. The Emerging Spectator83
iii. The Emergence of Narrator as Spectator86
iv. The Spectator Perspective: Narrative and Picture Frames92
v. Window and Surface95
vi. The Spectator Becomes Pygmalion: Giving Body to Representation100
vii. Another Way of Seeing108
3. The Spectator and the Exotic: Women in the Plural114
i. The Discrete Charms of the Exotic125
ii. Invisibility and Galland's Mille et Unenuits: Exchange and the Exotic137
4. Staging the Spectator: Performance and the Public in Eighteenth Century Theatre145
i. Theatre as Social Paradigm145
ii. Arlequin's Incarnations151
iii. Théâtre Delafoire: Staging Arlequin and the Spectator159
iv. From Periphery to Performance Proper163
v. Social Satire and Interchangeability of Spectators170
vi. Marivaux and the Commedia Dell'arte: Improvisation and Reciprocal Vision175
vii. The Prince, The Public, and Arlequin's Reflections185
viii. 'Le fou du Roi'191
List of Works Cited202