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The Mind-Body StagePassion and Interaction in the Cartesian Theater$
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R. Darren Gobert

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804786386

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804786386.001.0001

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Cartesian Acting; or, Interiors

Cartesian Acting; or, Interiors

(p.84) 3 Cartesian Acting; or, Interiors
The Mind-Body Stage

R. Darren Gobert

Stanford University Press

This chapter concerns acting after Descartes. It considers the Cartesian notion of interiority, whose ramifications are glimpsed in rehearsal burlesques of the period, such as The Female Wits, George Villiers's The Rehearsal, and Samuel Foote's Diversions of the Morning. These burlesques borrowed from Molière's L'Impromptu de Versailles, which represented the relationship between actors' interiority and their physiological expressions. Molière thus anticipated the terms worked out in Charles Le Brun's Conférence sur l'expression générale et particulière, famous for inspiring treatises on “natural” acting in both France and England, such as Foote's Treatise on the Passions. Le Brun's theory, however, could not account for the particularities of mind-body union supplied by the individual actor. Thus the period saw the rehabilitation of the actor's reputation: a picture of actors as inherently more passionate than non-actors transformed into a picture of actors in greater control of their emotional channels.

Keywords:   Descartes, Molière, Charles Le Brun, L'impromptu de Versailles, George Villiers, Samuel Foote, The Female Wits, interiority, acting theory, subjectivity

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