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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the implications of the current rehabilitation of Georgian theatre, arguing that it was the popularity of the Georgian stage and drama and the centrality of the audience that led to its subsequent marginalization both from literary debate and from performance. It tracks the philosophical justifications for the longstanding debasement of the popular and parallel elevation of elite notions of taste and discernment. The chapter demonstrates that the naturalized inequalities formulated during the Enlightenment, and surviving today, are ones that were conceived in opposition to popular pleasures such as the Georgian stage. It concludes by arguing that rehabilitating the Georgian playhouse involves challenging contemporary dominant cultural attempts to incorporate the popular on the hierarchical terms of the elites.

Keywords: enlightenment, public sphere, women, civic humanism, imperialism

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