Monday, August 14, 2006

Ethics and the Theory of Comedy in France and Britain, 1660 to 1800

American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Atlanta, Georgia, March 22-25, 2007

Three 20-minute papers are sought for a panel on the place of ethics in British and French theories of comedy during the long eighteenth-century. While earlier interpretations of Aristotle’s Poetics provided a basis for the period’s discussions of tragedy’s moral force, critics interested in the ethical value of comedy could appeal to no equivalent tradition or founding text. Thus, from the prefaces of Molière and Shadwell, through the polemics of Bossuet and Collier, to the essays of Diderot, Beaumarchais, and Goldsmith, comedy was variously depicted as a corrupter of morality, as an ethically neutral diversion, or as a corrective of ethically questionable behavior. Papers on these critical debates, on individual theoretical positions, or on related theatrical practices are welcome, as are treatments of French, British, and comparative topics.

Please e-mail proposals and brief CVs to Robert Dimit at no later than September 15. Please include your telephone and fax numbers, and let me know if you will need any audio-visual equipment.

The Society’s rules permit members to present only one paper at the meeting. Members may, in addition to presenting a paper, serve as a session chair, a respondent, or a panel discussant, but they may not present a paper in those sessions they also chair. All participants must be members in good standing of ASECS or a constituent society of ISECS. Membership must be current as of December 1 in order to receive pre-registration materials. Those members of constituent societies of ISECS MUST furnish a snail mail address to to receive pre-registration materials. For more information, please see


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