The Melodramatic Thread

The Melodramatic Thread

Spectacle and Political Culture in Modern France
James R. Lehning
Distribution: World
Publication date: 07/09/2007
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21910-7
Bookmark and Share

 Add to Wish List 

Other formats available:


In France, both political culture and theatrical performances have drawn upon melodrama. This "melodramatic thread" helped weave the country’s political life as it moved from monarchy to democracy. By examining the relationship between public ceremonies and theatrical performance, James R. Lehning sheds light on democratization in modern France. He explores the extent to which the dramatic forms were present in the public performance of political power. By concentrating on the Republic and the Revolution and on theatrical performance, Lehning affirms the importance of examining the performative aspects of French political culture for understanding the political differences that have marked France in the years since 1789.

Author Bio

James R. Lehning is Professor of History at The University of Utah and author of To Be a Citizen: The Political Culture of the Early French Third Republic and Peasant and French: Cultural Contact in Rural France during the Nineteenth Century.


“Lehning’s application of the themes of melodrama to French political culture offers new insights into French history. His style is livelyclear, and highly readable. ”
 — Venita Datta, Wellesley College

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Varieties of Performance in Nineteenth-Century Paris
3. Boulevard Spectacles of the Third Republic
4. Spectacles of Light and Darkness between the World Wars
5. Commercial Spectacles in Postwar Paris
6. Conclusion
Selected Bibliography