La dramaturgia de Oscar Wilde, ejemplo paradigmático de la influencia y recepción del teatro francés en Gran Bretaña (1880-1895)
English adaptations of French original plays dominated the British stage throughout the 19th century. Reasons for this overwhelming French influence are to be looked for in the economical conditions that framed playwrights as well as in the audience reception. The genre of la pièce-bien-faite as conceived by Scribe and amended by Sardou, though deplored by most of the French and English drama critics, impacted upon British playwrights who not only adapted but also copied and reworked its inner dramatic structure. Nevertheless it is a curious fact that, as yet, no one has devoted a volume of any considerable dimensions to unearth the exact extent of French drama upon the British stage as these systematic adaptations demonstrate. The aim of this thesis is, first, to explore different techniques throughout which dramatists adapted French plays and their reception by British play-goers. I will show how these transmutations oscillate between both impoverishing and biased procedures and ameliorating ones. This shift from mere adaptor to dramatic author reflects a broader conception of dramatic creation implying the first step to the renaissance of English drama.
Secondly, it is possible to observe throughout the evolution of adaptations the awakening of late nineteenth-century playwrights as regards dramatic structure and moral and ethical issues. Authors such as Sydney Grundy, Arthur Pinero, Sir Arthur Jones and Oscar Wilde, even if they repudiated any stylistical debt to Scribe and Sardou, whose stage-craft they learnt mostly throughout adaptations and consecutives performances of the Comédie Française in London, are to be regarded as far as dramatic technique and subject are concerned, as the British descendants of nineteenth-century French drama tradition. Thus, I will conclude that these two antagonistic trends reflect the gradual change from the hack playwright who plundered reknown French plays without acknowledgement to its sources, to the aesthetically concerned dramatists who were the architects of the English drama revival of the last decade of the19th century. Oscar Wildes life and dramaturgy will display the overwhelming influence of the French stage upon Victorian playwrights. As for his life, it embodies the assimilation of a mystified image of France constructed by means of successive journeys to Paris and his friendship with the French intellectual bohème. This francophilia can be easily observed through Wildes words, constantly lauding the profession of the French man of letters in comparison to the English literary atmosphere. Moreover, his threat to abandon the country and to become a French citizen after the banning of Salomé, and his final yearss retirement to Berneval-sur-mer and Paris make clear his inclination to France which can also be traced in his dramatic work. As regards his society comedies, by means of several thorough comparative studies of Wildes characters and dramatic situations, we can affirm that his plays are the result of a compostive balance between influence and subversion of French popular authors such as Scribe, Sardou, Augier and Dumas fils and Feydeau.
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Advisor:Leal Duart, Julio
School:Universitat de València
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:filologia francesa i italiana
Date of Publication:04/30/2004