Kurt Fendt: From Manuscript to Data API: The Comédie-Française Registers Project – Lessons Learned. Abstract # 20 (random order)

“From 1680 until 1791, only one theater troupe in Paris was allowed to perform the plays of Molière, Corneille, Racine, Voltaire, Beaumarchais, and every other French-language playwright. This troupe, the Comédie-Française, played the works of these authors over 34,000 times in this period. The troupe kept detailed records of their box office receipts for every single one of those performances. These daily receipt registers, still housed today in the troupe’s archives in the Palais Royale in Paris, are now fully digitized and form the core of an online archive. Dynamic research and visualization tools such as a faceted browser or a cross-tab browser allow scholars of theater history, theater studies, and economic history to gain new insights into the cultural production of the 17th and 18th century in Paris. From the outset, the development of the project was driven by research questions such as: Which playwrights were most popular with sophisticated Parisian audiences in the Age of Enlightenment? Which genres proved most profitable for the troupe from the time of the Louis XIV (the “Sun King”) to the French Revolution? Is it possible to trace the radicalization of the king’s subjects over the course of the century by studying their theatrical tastes? With the first phase of the project now being almost complete, the presentation will reflect on the process of project development, the decisions made, the lessons learned, and lay out plans for the next phase of this international collaboration.”

 

Kurt Fendt, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Presentation: Oct 24, 10.55-11.50 a.m., University of Regensburg, Großer Sitzungssaal des Philosophikums (PT 3.0.79) [PROGRAMME]

 

Picture credits: via Kurt Fendt


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