Author Nicole, Pierre
Title Traité de la comédie
Publishing Location Liège
Year 1667
Publisher Adolphe Beyers
Edition I
Number of Pages
Publishing Country BEL
Publishing Language FRE

The treatise appeared for the first time as annexe to the volume Les Visionnaires by Nicole, in the edition published in Liège, by Beyers, in 1667. A version of the Traité previous to 1667 is found in the apograph manuscript found in the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Recueil Conrart, t. XVI, Ms 5425, pp. 771-796). A single copy of an edition entitled Traité contre la Comédie of 93 pages is found at the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, without date or place, which faithfully reproduces the text of the Beyers 1667 edition. The text of 1667 was republished in 1671 as annexe to the work of the abbè de Voisin, chapelain of Armand de Bourbon, Prince of Conti, entitled Défense du Traité de Monseigneur le prince de Conti (Paris Jean-Baptiste Coignard, 1671). Many variants are found in the version published in the third volume of the Essais de morale (Paris, Guillaume Desprez, 1675). Variants, though not as numerous, are also introduced in the second edition of Essais de morale (Paris, Guillaume Desprez, 1678), where the treatise is also found in the third volume. The treatise was included also in later editions of the Essais: 1714, 1715, 1733, 1793 ("nouvelle édition").
Online text: Essais de morale 1714 - 1715

The work attacks theater for moral and theological reasons. The text is divided in ten chapters, each one of which begins with a thesis that is then demonstrated. Acting is condemned not only because of the immoral behavior of actors in general and the licentious behavior of actresses on stage, but because actors represent passions and, in order for these to be effectively reproduced, actors must actually feel them on stage.

Traité de la Comédie, présenté par Georges Couton, Paris, Société d'édition Les Belles Lettres, 1961.

De la comédie, Mons, Sils Maria, 2002. With an introduction by Charles Jourdain.

Traité de la comédie et autres pièces d'un procès du théâtre, ed. by Laurent Thirouin, Paris, Honoré Champion, 1998.

German: Deutlicher Erweiss dass Operen und Comoedien spielen und sehen kein Mittel-Ding, sondern eine genommene Freyheit seye, welche mit den Pflichten dess wahren Christenthums streite, etc., Jena, s.n., 1700 (see).

Italian: Sulla commedia, Bompiani, Milano, 2003. Parallel French text. Introductory essay, translation, and notes by Domenico Bosco (see).


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