Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Opera and the Political Imaginary in Old Regime France$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Olivia Bloechl

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226522753

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226522890.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2021

Spectral Kingdoms: Poetics and Politics of Les Enfers

Spectral Kingdoms: Poetics and Politics of Les Enfers

Chapter:
(p.156) Chapter Five Spectral Kingdoms: Poetics and Politics of Les Enfers
Source:
Opera and the Political Imaginary in Old Regime France
Author(s):

Olivia Bloechl

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226522890.003.0006

This chapter discusses the conventional setting of the pagan underworld ("les enfers") in tragédies en musique and explores its poetics and political significance. It finds that French librettists represented the underworld as a quasi-absolutist space, in an “imaginative geography” comparable in some ways to the Orientalist imaginary described by Edward Said. Artists organized opera's underworlds in this way for both poetic and political reasons, as placing underworld action in a monarchical realm of the dead let them satisfy the aesthetic demand for verisimilitude, in the special French register of vraisemblance merveilleuse (marvelous plausibility). This poetic requirement also let artists explore a terrifying, biopolitical dimension of absolutist sovereignty, rooted in the sovereign’s legal authority over life and death.

Keywords:   absolutism, tragédie en musique, biopolitics, sovereignty, death, imaginative geography, verisimilitude, poetics, underworld, Hades, Edward Said

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.