For citation:

Simonova L.A. Theater as a Dictate of Power. The Problem of Freedom of the Dramatic Author in the Classical Epoch. Studia Litterarum, 2020, vol. 5, no 4, pp. 102–125. (In Russ.)

Author: L.A. Simonova
Information about the author:

Larisa A. Simonova, PhD in Philology, Professor, Moscow University of Finance and Law, Vedenskogo St. 1A, 117342 Moscow, Russia.


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Received: November 01, 2019
Published: December 25, 2020
Issue: 2020 Vol. 5, №4
Department: World Literature
Pages: 102-125

UDK: 821.133.1.0
BBK: 83.3(4Фра)51
Keywords: drama, classicism, tragedy, power, author, character, discourse.


The author of the article aims at revising traditional approaches to the definition of classicism, viewing it as an intrinsically mobile and heterogeneous semantic system. On the example of the tragedy as a dominant genre, it reveals that the French theater of the 17th century may be seen from two perspectives: as a social and cultural phenomenon and as а system that functions and transforms itself through the author’s efforts. The mobility of this dramatic practice relates to the paradigmatical relationship between the “power” and the “author”. The power is understood both in the narrow political and in the wider textual sense (e.g. violence that reveals itself on the textual level). The author is seen as a writing agent who consistently develops her own principles of dramatic writing and discloses herself in the text through the figures of the drama’s personas and the structure as a whole. The article seeks to show how Corneille the playwright simultaneously succumbed to the prevailing classical tendencies of his time and tried to distance from them. With this purpose in view, the article examines in detail how the rhetorical structure of the tragedy Horace was built; in particular, this concerns interaction, via attracrion and repulsion, of two different discursive positions represented by Horace and Sabina.


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