The Academy: session abstract and readings

Literature, Lecture 2: Comedy, Satire and Social Critique in Pre-Revolutionary France

Dr John Leigh

Beaumarchais’s play The Marriage of Figaro is deceptively familiar. More famous in his operatic incarnation, Figaro must be the only personage, fictional or historical, who is quoted every day on the mast head of a national newspaper. Beaumarchais’s work is also unique among plays in warranting a chapter to itself in histories of the French Revolution. Beaumarchais’s comparatively obscure sequel, La Mere Coupable, written during that Revolution, may cause us to re-evaluate his outlook on social change, and his understanding of the scope and the responsibilities of the theatre.


See the Academy 2015 readings page for attendees.

what's happening next

Battle of Ideas Festival 2019

Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 November 2019, Barbican, Silk Street, London