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Scandales et intimités : l'actrice française et la célébrité féminine au dix-huitième siècle

Mateos, Maeva (2016) Scandales et intimités : l'actrice française et la célébrité féminine au dix-huitième siècle. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation demonstrates how the emergence of the concept of female celebrity created a new kind of public woman and new forms of privacy in early modern France. The early modern celebrity mechanisms that I identify and analyze through the figure of the eighteenth-century French actress – her performance on stage, her rivals on and off-stage, her participation in public affairs, and her writings – contribute to the construction of her image as an actress, artist, militant, and author. Celebrity studies scholar Leo Braudy identifies the concept of “visible knownness” as a key element in the study of glory and celebrity: it is necessary for the star to be seen in order to be known and recognized as a celebrity by the public. I use Braudy’s concept of “knownness” to analyze the ways in which the creation of a public knowledge around the actress allowed the eighteenth-century French actress to forge intimate connections with her public. Drawing on the work of scholars such as Gill Perry, Felicity Nussbaum, and Laura Engel, I examine how print culture – including anecdotes, engravings, novels, and actress memoirs – shaped the celebrity actress positively as a public woman in Enlightenment France. My work thus challenges a key critical narrative in French studies regarding the place of the early modern public woman, one influenced by Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s notoriously negative vision of the public woman and based on a gendered separation of the male public sphere and the female private sphere that made it impossible for the public woman to aspire to feminine virtue. My dissertation rethinks this Rousseauist vision of the public woman through the prism of celebrity. The actress’ celebrity implies a renegotiation of the public and private spaces that legitimizes her participation in the public sphere even as it constructs her as an object of media consumption.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHogg, Chloéhoggca@pitt.eduHOGGCA
Committee MemberBlumenfeld-Kosinski, Renaterenate@pitt.eduRENATE
Committee MemberMecchia, Giuseppinamecchia@pitt.eduMECCHIA
Committee MemberSavoia, Francescasavoia@pitt.eduSAVOIA
Committee MemberArmstrong, Christopher Drewcda68@pitt.eduCDA68
Date: 21 January 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 13 November 2015
Approval Date: 21 January 2016
Submission Date: 21 November 2015
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 261
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > French
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Female celebrity; female publicity; 18th-century actresses; Clairon; Caliste; actress memoirs
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2016 20:34
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2018 06:15


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