Symposium "Theatre and ethics in Europe under the Ancien Régime"

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Based on the concept of the "tribune", theorised in particular by Chr. Biet, the aim of this symposium is to examine not only the nature but also the form of the reflections on ethical issues carried by the European theatre of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. If it is necessary to recontextualise the discourses or postures that the corpus illustrates in this field, it appears that universal issues related to the exercise of power are also developed, such as the relationship between private and public interests or the issue of state secrecy, which is a favourite of historical tragedy. Seen from this angle, dramatic works are like so many particular cases offered to the judgement of an audience that emanates from the whole of society.

1 3 February 2023
9h 17h
MISHA - University of Strasbourg

According to the definition provided by Furetière's Dictionnaire universel (1690), directly from its Greek etymon, ethics is the "name sometimes given to Morality, or to the science of Manners". The word is therefore not only used to designate rules or prescriptions defined by treatises, such as Nicolas Faret's L'Honnête Homme ou l'Art de plaire à la cour (1630), whether or not based on pre-existing practices; it also corresponds to tools and methods aimed at observing and describing individual or collective ways of being. From then on, the enterprise no longer consisted in denouncing or exalting, by virtue of previously established norms, such and such a behaviour, but in giving an account of it, if possible without any judgment.
The theatre has appeared to us as a privileged place for exposing, expressing or manifesting postures or ideas, most often contradictory, on ethical questions - understood in the broad sense - as crucial as that of the reason of State or the relationship between private and public interests within the political sphere.

Download the full presentation and the call for papers here

To have more details please contact : 
Sandrine BERRÉGARD: berregard[at] or Francesco D'ANTONIO: dantonio[at]