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Compliment prononcé à l’ouverture du Théâtre-Français, le 11 avril 1763.

Wynn, Thomas (2014) 'Compliment prononcé à l’ouverture du Théâtre-Français, le 11 avril 1763.', in Complete works of Voltaire. Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, pp. 341-358.


Every Easter, the Comédie-Française would close its doors for around three weeks, marking the break between the theatrical seasons. At the beginning and the close of each season, a member of the troupe would address a short speech – or compliment – directly to the audience. This was a popular and ephemeral piece, as the Correspondance littéraire relates: ‘ces sortes d’ouvrages, quoique ordinairement fort applaudis, sont oubliés le lendemain’. Although men and women alike would deliver the address at the Comédie-Italienne, the Opéra-Comique and the foire, at the Comédie-Française the compliment was apparently always given by a man, who spoke in his own name even if someone else had been written it. It is thus striking that the Compliment prononcé à l’ouverture du Théâtre-Français, le 11 avril 1763 was composed to be delivered by a woman, although the identity of the author and of the intended speaker are debatable (as we shall see, the original text was not in fact delivered, and the emended version was given by a man).

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:19 January 2017
Date of first online publication:2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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