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Journal Articles Dix-Huitième Siècle Year : 1997

Bacchus, Thespis and the birth of comedy

Bacchus, Thespis et la naissance de la comédie


In the prologue to Platée, Jean-Philippe Rameau' s burlesque ballet first performed at Versailles in 1745, the poet Jacques Autreau referred to the origins of the theatre by presenting the comic figure of the legendary inventor of tragedy, Thespis who, during the wine harvest, invoked the god of grapes, Bacchus, to create a new type of amusement. Thus, under the auspices of historians of dramatic art, the essence of the theatre is here emphasised as bacchic, satirical and lyrical, which tends to remove the frontier between tragedy and comedy in order to replace it with a wider conception of theatrical forms as complete spectacles, combining the pleasures of song, music and dance. Bacchus, the god of wine and theatre is, just as much as Apollo, the god of inspiration, and thus justly invoked in this prologue entitled "The Birth of Comedy".


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hal-02937180 , version 1 (12-09-2020)



Dominique Quéro. Bacchus, Thespis et la naissance de la comédie. Dix-Huitième Siècle, 1997, 29 (1), pp.255-268. ⟨10.3406/dhs.1997.2176⟩. ⟨hal-02937180⟩
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