The Rise of the Coquette in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century French Theater Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Gard, Andrew
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
  • My dissertation examines the portrayal of the coquettish character type on the Parisian stage from the 1660s to the early eighteenth century. Having originated in Italian theatrical traditions, the coquette figure became an emblem of French femininity in Ancien Régime comedy where she represented the emerging image of the flirtatious, frivolous, acquisitive, and vain Parisian woman. Although representations of the coquette were not always flattering, I demonstrate that they in fact reflected the limits put on intelligent women in early modern French society. These characters use coquettish behavior to compensate for their lack of power in a patriarchal social system and a burgeoning mercantile economy. My study examines thirteen comedies across four chapters, each devoted to a sub-category of the coquette type, including courtiers, aging mother/widows, materialists, and young “coquettes in training.” As the first scholarly work devoted to the figure of the coquette on the early modern French stage, my dissertation aims to unpack the construction of this ambivalent stereotype in the context of theater history, gender studies, and the history of French culture.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Welch, Ellen
  • Tanner, Jessica
  • Longino, Michèle
  • Fleck, Stephen
  • Melehy, Hassan
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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