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Mime, Music and Drama on the Eighteenth-Century Stage
The Ballet d'Action


  • Date Published: July 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107005495

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About the Authors
  • The 'ballet d'action' was one of the most successful and controversial forms of theatre in the early modern period. A curious hybrid of dance, mime and music, its overall and overriding intention was to create drama. It was danced drama rather than dramatic dance, musical drama rather than dramatic music. Most modern critical studies of the ballet d'action treat it more narrowly as stage dance and very few view it as part of the history of mime. Little use has previously been made of the most revealing musical evidence. This innovative book does justice to the distinctive hybrid nature of the ballet d'action by taking a comparative approach, using contemporary literature and literary criticism, music, mime and dance from a wide range of English and European sources. Edward Nye presents a fascinating study of this important and influential part of eighteenth-century European theatre.

    • Takes an innovative, comparative approach, discussing theatre, mime, dance, music and literature, as opposed to previous studies of this subject which have taken a narrow view
    • Presents an informative general introduction to certain forms of mime, as well as a specialised study of a specific form - the eighteenth-century 'ballet d'action'
    • Provides an international viewpoint, referring to publications and stage works in English, French, Italian, German and Russian
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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2011
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107005495
    • length: 340 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.74kg
    • contains: 1 music example
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Ballet d'Action in Historical Context:
    1. The voice and the body in the enlightenment
    2. A revival of Roman pantomime?
    3. No place for harlequin
    4. Decroux and Noverre: distant cousins?
    Part II. The Ballet d'Action in Close-Up: Dramatic Principles:
    5. Character and action
    6. Dialogues in mime
    7. Choreography is painterly drama
    8. The admirable consent between music and action
    9. Putting performance into words

  • Author

    Edward Nye, University of Oxford
    Edward Nye is Fellow of Lincoln College and Lecturer in French at the University of Oxford. His research centres on the eighteenth century and on artistic aesthetics in particular, and he is also interested in the history of ideas across centuries and national borders. He is the author of Literary and Linguistic Theories in Eighteenth-Century France (2000), the editor of a volume of literary reflections on dance, Sur Quel Pied Danser? Danse et Littérature (2005) and the editor of a scholarly anthology on the literature of cycling, A Bicyclette (2000).

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